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Sex and Lucia

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Sex and Lucia

Starring: Elena Anaya, Javier Camara
Director: Julio Medem
Rated: NR
RunTime: 128 Minutes
Release Date: July 2002
Genres: Romance, Erotica

*Also starring: Daniel Freire, Silvia Llanos, Paz Vega

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Since director Julio Medem's last picture, THE LOVERS OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE (LOS AMANTES DEL CÍRCULO POLAR), was one of my absolute favorite films of 1999, I was waiting with eager anticipation for his latest, SEX AND LUCIA (LUCÍA Y EL SEXO). My reaction in a word: disappointment. His last movie was poetically romantic and full of indelible images, but his latest has nothing going for it other than the graphic sex, which, as I'll discuss below, isn't the least bit erotic.

The story's lead, Lucía (Paz Vega), has fallen in love with Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa), a novelist who is having trouble writing his current book. Once she comes up to him in a cafe and proposes that they live together, his life changes forever. After that, the novel begins to affect his life, or is it the other way around? Maybe his life and his book are one and the same. It's hard to tell in this increasingly confusing tale.

The film has an ugly and distracting look, thanks to Medem's decision to shoot it on digital video. Vega, whom I have no doubt is beautiful in person or on film, has a grayish skin color in the movie that makes her look like a piece of raw meat that hasn't been refrigerated. Since film looks so much better than today's digital video, filmmakers should shoot in digital only if they just can't afford the real thing or if they are George Lucas.

The movie spends much of its time in sex scenes, and Vega appears completely nude almost as often as she is dressed. This might sound like the movie would be a turn on, but it never is. For a movie that would clearly get an NC-17 rating were it to be rated, the surprise is how little we are shown. The filmmakers appear to be embarrassed by sex because whenever they show something explicit, it is edited so fast that, if you blink, you'll miss it. The movie is a constant tease. In one outdoor scene, they make us think we are going to get a Sharon Stone moment, but then they cut away at the last second. There just isn't a single erotic incident, which would be the only reason to see this otherwise uninteresting and bewildering story. This much you do have to give the picture. It is perhaps the first one that attempts a sexual mud bath.

SEX AND LUCIA runs way too long at 2:08. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. It is not rated but would be NC-17 for explicit sex, nudity and language and would be acceptable for those over seventeen.

Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes

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