Sex and Lucía (2002)
Various lives converge on an isolated island, all connected by an author whose novel has become inextricably entwined with his own life.
Lucia is a waitress who lives and works in Madrid. After what she believes to be the loss of her boyfriend, the tortured writer Lorenzo, she flees to a secluded island that he had often told her about. There she meets Carlos and Elena, who have also run away to the island to escape personal tragedy. Unbeknownst to them, all three have a connection to Lorenzo. Elena met him many years ago on that same island and enjoyed beautiful, anonymous lovemaking with him in the sea by the light of a full moon. 9 months later, Elena gave birth to Luna, but never managed to find Lorenzo. Carlos was the stepfather of Belen, who disappeared after she unwittingly caused the death of Luna. As she hears more about the past of her two new house mates, Lucia is reminded of the book Lorenzo was writing, a tale about a journey into a dark, deep past that brought on his depression. Soon, the lines between fact and fiction begin to fall apart.
Sex and Lucia (2001)A fascinating, moving, beautiful, sexy movie. Yes, it's about sex, and there are lots of sex scenes, some of them surprisingly graphic. But it's not about sex at all, in a way —or at least the bigger point is about recovery, and finding love, and the power of goodness. This makes it all sound sappy or sensational, and some people might find it so. But I think it is extremely serious and probing. And if this territory is not completely new, it's suddenly fresh and intriguing.And confusing. If there is one stumbling block for many it has to be the deliberately convoluted plot, and the convoluted way the plot is told through several time periods and with interchanging roles, or what seem to be people whose positions alter in each others' brains.Or not! What I mean is, I think it kind of makes sense, maybe perfect sense, if you study it. The key to it all, both the characters and what happens to them, is a writer and his book(s). Because one of the main characters is also the writer's most devoted (and obsessed) reader, the fictional elements become true, or at least get blurred with the truth, and so what the viewer sees (poor depraved viewer at this point) is partial and suggestive and puzzling.Which is exactly why the movie is so good. You have to let go of the facts a little and hang onto the mood, and to the characters (and the actors) who are quite real and palpable. In fact, one of the things that makes this so significant is the high level of acting—the author and the three main women that come through his world over six or seven years. The emotional intensity, from joy (and ecstasy) to horror (and grief) is quite intense.There is a lingering feeling of awkwardness to the production of the movie. It's not just that it's a hair low budget—this is part of the feel of it, and it's quite beautiful overall—but that it uses certain editing quirks and filming styles (like blown out highlights in some scenes) to create effect. Sometimes this is helpful for keeping track of different points in the shifting narrative. Sometimes you are too aware of it. At least the first time.I've seen this only once, and I can imagine watching it again someday. It might well grow on you, getting a little clarity but also revisiting the emotional dips and peaks a second time. One small heads up for people who might need to know—there is a rather too-long section near the start with lots of frank and varied sex, and it drags a bit (and is too self-indulgent for the plot), but then the rest of the movie largely avoids it (not completely!). So if this is a turn-off, get through that part and see what turns up next. The movie never expands outside its small group of characters or its limited range of sets and locations, but it inhabits these places with increasing interest. Director/writer Julio Medem has succeeded at something here. See what it is.
Extraordinarily sexy, brain-twisting melodrama from Spain. Paz Vega (who tried and failed to get a Hollywood career going with Spanglish) stars as a woman who hooks up with her favorite author (Tristan Ulloa). After enjoying a life full of the greatest sex and romance ever, Ulloa discovers that a one-night stand from the past (Najwa Nimri) has been searching for him in Madrid with their daughter in tow. Unsure as to whether he wants to reconnect with Nimri, he seduces his daughter's nanny (The Skin I Live In's Elena Anaya) to get a closer look at his heretofore unknown progeny. The story is deliberately confusing - one's never sure whether the plot is actually happening or is part of the novel Ulloa is writing. Honestly, by the end of the film, I'd gotten over trying to make perfect sense of the plot (I was kind of assuming that the American release was heavily edited, but in reality only a couple of minutes of full frontal nudity were cut) and just enjoyed it for its beautiful images (shot digitally, which I think has its place) and all the hot, hot sex. Paz Vega is a total doll, but, man, when Anaya shows up, holy cow, is she just smoking. There's a long sequence where she wears this black teddy that just had me drooling. Medem (who directed the also quite good Lovers of the Arctic Circle) hooked up with Anaya again a couple of years ago with the lesbian flick Room in Rome, which I am now compelled to watch.
I got this film as a couples movie for my wife who is away for when she got back. It was worth the chance as from Spain rather than Orange Valley CA. Having just watched it to see if it was OK I was really captivated and will need to watch it again to get all the nuances. The acting was top notch as well. You don't need a wife when the film is this good. Only kidding Gaynor! Sort of reminds me of Betty Blue, another good example why European cinema can hit the target always when it comes to this sort of thing.Excellent work.Andy