https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6008&reviewer=67

Sex and Lucia

Reviewed By Thom
Posted 07/12/02 06:35:12

"Bold, Sexy and Beautiful"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

A frank, sexually provocative, sensual film that, as the title suggests, deals with sex as the center of our life stories. The mating, the pairing, the trysts, the desire, the pleasure and the complications that occur from all that. This is not a romantic comedy. Its not even a romance. Lucia’s lover, an emotionally overwrought novelist, mysteriously disappears just as he is finishing a complicated tale of love, lust and tragedy and Lucia discovers the painful truth about him on an island off the coast of Spain.

The film was a huge hit in Spain and won the Goya award (Spanish Oscar) for Best Actress and Best Score. I want to live in a country where a movie as innocently sexual as SEX AND LUCIA can win an Oscar.

It was a great ride. I let myself feel my way through this wonderful, sensual, intriguing film rather than try to get intellectual about it since there is nothing rational about sexual attraction.

I loved the focus on storytelling as the ultimate expression of humanity that both defines AND creates our lives. The film could have been called SEX AND LANGUAGE because of the role story has for the characters. Lucia (Paz Vega) is falling in love with her husband Lorenzo’s (Tristan Ulluo) novel. It is so beautiful and true. She just keeps telling him to write the truth. It is the truth of this story that forces him to escape his life where fiction and reality are two sides of a mirror.

Lorenzo is living a double life and the events in one become the novel in another. A night of passion, beautifully filmed, in the ocean bears his one night stand, Elena (Najwa Nimri)a baby girl. Lorenzo discovers this much later and begins to haunt the child’s playground and involving himself in her life as a stranger.

When Lucia runs away to a small island, Lorenzo’s favorite, to escape the pain of losing her husband, she ends up in the middle of the story she’s been reading all along. Her journey is erotic as well as psychological and spiritual.

The story, Elena explains, has an advantage. When you think are trapped, there is a way out, so that you end up at the beginning again, before tragedy could strike. The film itself opens up at the end to bring you back to the beginning, sadder but wiser.

The acting is tremendous, the cinematography and art direction do the script justice. The visual experience of the film is as gorgeous, sensual and satisfying as the story itself.

Oh my, and all those beautiful bodies! The film was gloriously uninhibited and edited in the proper spirit. Who can deny the role of sex in our lives and it was great to see a movie that showed sex in a way that wasn't pornographic but also not afraid to turn to you on (or in turn, be afraid, as the audience, to be turned on). It made sex feel beautiful and complex rather then dirty and forbidden. Even the slow motion shot of a man becoming erect, covered in mud, laying on the beach was a stirring portrayal of raw, earthy, sexuality, a symbol of potency and creation in nature and humans.

America has inherited Victorian prudishness for better or worse and so much of what happens privately never gets talked about publicly, but if this is how we are really living our lives, why shouldn't it be right out in the open? So it took a Spanish director to bring it to us, showing us that sex is part of the story, not a separate story and certainly not the whole story.

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