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'Sex And Lucia'

Sex gets heavy in 'Lucia'

Friday, September 27, 2002

By Barry Paris, Post-Gazette Film Critic

I'm trying to remember the last (non-porn) film I saw with as much graphic sex as "Sex and Lucia": Whatever it was, I can't think of it.

'Sex And Lucia'

RATING: X in nature for male and female nudity and sexual themes.

STARRING: Paz Vega, Tristan Ulloa.

DIRECTOR: Julio Medem.

WEB SITE: www.sexand


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The notion of which -- and leading off with which -- makes me blush for my and your American prudery, because director Julio Medem's fascinating film at hand is about more than just sex.

But the "just sex" is breathtaking in itself ...

Lucia (Paz Vega), a young waitress in Madrid, is a sensual ray of sunshine, who goes straight to the heart -- and genitalia -- of her writer-boyfriend Lorenzo (Tristan Ulloa). "Do you prefer wild sex with a stranger or with someone you know who's crazy about you?"

Lucia prefers the latter, and Lorenzo is the man to provide. "I'm dying!" she cries in passion. "I can't take any more -- so much love will kill me!" But she falls victim to his art and seeks refuge on a secluded island to explore the dark relationship that seems -- and maybe is -- a forbidden novel in itself.

The sexually powerful scuba-diver there? His lover (Najwa Nimri), who cooks on-line? Her late daughter Luna, who wanted a father, but whose inept baby sitter (Elena Anaya) just wanted sex?

What's "real" and what's merely the ongoing creation of his fiction? Go figure --as Lucia and Lorenzo go figuring into and out of his existential male fantasies.

The result is an excursion into passion and a love story that wallows in (rather than toys with) its lovers' sexuality -- generous, to say the least, with full frontal male and female nudity in action.

Along the way, there are curious derivative elements of Fellini as well as Polanski's "Repulsion." Director Medem's visual and narrative conceit is a hole in sand -- a hole "to escape through, back to the middle" of the story, if you can and wish to change its course.

That is consistent with his previous (wonderful) film, "Lovers of the Arctic Circle," and with a Spanish sensibility as remote from our own as that of Tibet or Jupiter.

"Sex and Lucia" is that rare thing -- a writer's rather than a director's film. As such, unfortunately, it is neither as deep or fulfilling as it wants to be. But it is as erotic, and as intriguing therefore.

Barry Paris can be reached at 412-263-3859.

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