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Lucía (Pax Vega) is a young Madrid waitress living with Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa), who suffers from writer’s block. Finally he decides he’s too screwed up and leaves her in dramatic fashion. She soon receives a phone call from the police advising her that Lorenzo has been in a car accident; without waiting to hear what she knows is the worst, she hangs up and though distressed, flees to the secluded Mediterranean island Lorenzo had often talked about. She reflects on her relationship with Lorenzo – and his attempt to write a novel using his own experiences - while staying in a guest house run by Elena (Majwa Nimri), whose only other guest is scuba diver Carlos (Daniel Freire). 

Review by Louise Keller:
Sex and Lucia (pronounced loo-see-ya) may be a beguiling title, but writer/director Julio Medem’s ambitious, risky and somewhat pretentious film is a blend of hit and miss, as he explores issues about love, passion and sex through an obtuse and often frustrating narrative. 

It’s a reflective story that is a jumble of time frames, realities, fantasies and ideas that somehow come together at the end – more or less – as Medem weighs up the
pros and cons of having wild sex with a stranger as opposed to wild sex with someone you love. This is a story where coincidence and chance play more of a role than does logic. The real characters are intertwined and immersed with those in Lorenzo’s novel, but as the novel takes its inspiration from real events and people, don’t expect to understand everything that is going on. 

Even director David Lynch may have difficulty to put all the pieces together. Medem’s last film – Lovers of the Arctic Circle – was a more complete work than this one, sharing some of the elements, but the former had a greater sense of melancholy, poetry and romance. Sex is the star of Sex and Lucia, and whether Medem’s treatment of the sex scenes with its full nudity, erect penises and almost hard-core erotica is essential for the telling of the story, is questionable. Some may call it steamy, others gratuitous – but there is no doubt that everyone will have an opinion on this. There is one scene in which a naked (aroused) man on the beach, is totally covered by mud. He then covers Lucia’s naked body also with the mud. Why? 

The cast is superb, and it’s no wonder that newcomer Pax Vega was awarded the Goya for Best New Actress. Vega has a sensuality that is countered by her innocent vulnerability, reminding me of a cross between Winona Ryder and Salma Hayek. Physically stunning, Vega wears her nudity nonchalantly, and Medem delights in the physicality of all his cast. But structurally, the film itself is very frustrating and the constant use of symbolic imagery with the sun and moon particularly irritating. 

There is an interesting juxtaposition of events through editing, and I do like the haunting theme that lingers throughout, like a never-ending waltz. The island location is quite spectacular with its white, white sand, deep blue ocean and craggy rocks, but Sex and Lucia never satisfies, with its parts ultimately more satisfying than its whole.

Published May 27, 2004

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Lucía y el sexo

CAST: Paz Vega, Tristán Ulloa, Najwa Nimri, Daniel Freire, Elena Anaya, Javier Cámara, Silvia Llanos, Diana Suárez, Juan Fernández

DIRECTOR: Julio Medem

SCRIPT: Julio Medem

RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailer; Making of featurette; cast interviews; Julio Medem Trailer reel; photo gallery


DVD RELEASE: March 31, 2004

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