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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, French
  Extras
  • 8 Teaser trailer
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Photo gallery
  • 3 Music video
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • 9 Interviews

Sex and Lucia

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 123 mins . R . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Sex and Lucia (Lucia y el sexo) is the latest film from writer/director Julio Medem.

In a feature on this disc, Julio tells how he felt, after making his tragic Lovers of the Arctic Circle, that he had to make a film which would end instead with hope. This is that film.

The story is centred around Lucia (Paz Vega), who has fallen hopelessly in love with author Lorenzo (Tristan Ulloa) just from reading his first novel. She meets him and confesses that all she really wants to do is live with him. And love him. And have sex with him, again and again.

And for much of the first half of the movie, that's what happens. There's a high ratio here of sex (apparently real, not simulated) and nudity. But it doesn't seem exploitative; it seems to add cumulatively to our understanding of the characters.

And that's important, because in the second half of the movie, a fulcrum-point of tragedy brings four lives into sharp conjunction. There's Lorenzo and Julia, and there's Elena (Najwa Nimri). Lorenzo, before he met Julia, had spent one magical evening with Elena on a Spanish island. He then returned to Madrid, while Elena returned to Valencia carrying inside her a surprise souvenir of their sandy tryst.

Some time later, Elena has moved to Madrid in the hope of seeing Lorenzo again. She now needs a babysitter, so hires Belen (Elena Anaya). Belen lives with her mother, a former porn-star, and with her mother's lover Carlos (Daniel Freire).

Belen meets Lorenzo and is infatuated by him. And Lorenzo is in turn infatuated by the situation she represents - the nanny of his daughter, the daughter of a porn-star, the possible lover of her mother's boyfriend - the writer is fascinated by all the possibilities and permutations.

In the second half of the movie, Lucia finds herself increasingly alienated from Lorenzo, as he starts to weave fiction and fact together. And the tragedy at the movie's core destroys their relationship.

The relationship has ended, and Lorenzo has run into the night - then Lucia receives a phone call from the police. There's been a terrible accident...

Lucia now just wants to run. And on the same Balearic island on which Lorenzo's daughter was conceived, she finds herself wrapped in bizarrely coincidental situations and circumstances. Each character she meets has, unknown to her, had a bearing on her past - each has helped shape her present.

It's as if Lorenzo is still writing his script... fact and fiction are as one.

As Lorenzo says,

"I'm going to write a story full of advantages. The first advantage is at the end of the story. It doesn't finish, it falls in a hole. And the story starts again halfway."

Sex and Lucia very cleverly blends together its layers of reality and fiction, to deliver a film which offers a very real insight into character, full of emotion and tenderness. The explicit sexual nature of the film might upset some viewers (especially many Americans, who believe explicit violence is far more suitable viewing than sex), but this is a carefully-crafted film which offers a great deal of thought-provoking content in its exploration of the nature of love and relationships.

  Video
Contract

The film was shot on a Sony high-definition video camera, and the anamorphic rendering onto DVD is first class.

There are times, in scenes shot on the Balearic island of Formentera, when it seems that the image has become bleached-out to the point of transparency. This is intentional; the over-exposure points to the island's effect on stripping away layers of personality and artifice.

  Audio
Contract

There are two audio levels offered - Spanish Dolby Digital two-channel stereo, and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 surround.

Both are crystal-clear, but for this dialogue-driven drama the stereo track is a tad better projected and possesses slightly better balance between dialogue, music and effects.

  Extras
Contract

The extra features are best explored after seeing the movie, as they do give away much of the plot.

The main feature is a 25-minute 'behind the scenes' documentary. This is much meatier than the usual fluffy exercises; the director and his cast give worthwhile insights into the movie, its storyline and its characters.

Then there are separate short interviews with the six leading actors, starting off with Paz Vega who plays Lucia - and who, incidentally, looks a lot like a more beautiful Penelope Cruz. After the actors come short interviews with art director Montse Sanz, cameraman Kiko de la Rica and director/writer Julio Medem.

Next up is a photo gallery of very dull snapshot-size pictures, followed by three soundtrack excerpts of key themes from the movie, accompanied by 'behind the scenes' footage.

We're then offered a trailer reel for four previous films by Medem; The Lovers of the Arctic Circle, Red Squirrel, Vacas and Tierra. All are in non-anamorphic widescreen, but are in good condition. And finally, we have four Madman Propaganda trailers, with full-screen presentations of Vengo and Love's a Bitch, and non-anamorphic widescreen presentations of Live Flesh and Nine Queens.

  Overall  
Contract

I'd want this one in my collection. But if renting, make sure it's for more than one night, as the blending of fact and fiction, and the complex relationships involved, demand more than one viewing.


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      And I quote...
    "Sex and Lucia brings us emotion and tragedy - and a warm promise of rebirth and affirmation of life. But stay away if offended by explicit sex and nudity..."
    - Anthony Clarke
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Panasonic A330
    • TV:
          Loewe Profil Plus 3272 68cm
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