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.