STUDIO: Palm Pictures
MSRP: $29.99
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes
• Behind the Scenes of Sex and Lucía
• Cast Interviews
• Photo Gallery
• Soundtrack Excerpts
• Cast Biographies
• Theatrical Trailer

The Pitch

A passionate love story told with a infinite ambition and sex scenes.

The Humans

Written and Directed by Julio Medem
Starring Paz Vega, Tristán Ulloa, Najwa Nimri, Daniel Freire Javier Cámara, Silvia Llanos, Elena Anaya

I’d like to place a collect call to America. Moe’s Tavern, please.

The Nutshell

Sex and Lucía contains multiple characters that branch off and interlock with each other. Lucia (Paz Vega) is a waitress who runs off to a Mediterranean island after she discovers her boyfriend Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa) has thrown himself in front of a car. Lorenzo is a novelist who meets obsessed fan Lucia in a café, instantly falls for her because she looks like Paz Vega and not Kathy Bates, which leads to copious amounts of sex instead of a hobbling. Six years earlier Elena (Najwa Nimri) has sex with Lorenzo in the ocean on a moonlit night, and ends up pregnant. They playfully avoid giving each others names, only personal clues. This sends the woman, baby in tow, to Madrid in search of Lorenzo. In the present, Carlos meets Lucia on the island and invites her home for dinner where we find out Carlos’ roommate is….

This is where it gets complicated. New characters are introduced and the tone shifts. I do not want to go into the minutia of the stories.  If I do so I will be interpreting the material for you and giving too much away. Puzzling this all together is part of the movies charm.

They’re going to fuck or play Charades. It beats playing Charade, as I always get stuck playing Walter Matthau.

The Lowdown

It is a bit soapy, but like all good melodrama, it is in the execution. Sex and Lucía has a purposely disjointed narrative that weaves time and multiple protagonists. The talent and stunningly beautiful central cast buoys an intricate screenplay that runs the emotional course. Writer/director Julio Medem navigates us through much of this sure-handedly.

By incorporating many visual motifs and stylistic devices, Medem helps carry his material along. For instance, the moon gains a symbolic meaning over the course of the film, as does the floating, hole-filled island and its surroundings. Overexposed images often represent isolation, a visual device that has a powerful payoff toward the end. Medem and his cinematographer Kiko de la Rica establish most of these visual elements early on so they feel organic later.

Art steps in the way of story only once which has a wayward effect on much of what follows. The editing style makes it hard to decipher if the scene in question is overly artistic or purposely cryptic. You end up spending too much time wondering what happened instead of feeling the impact the event has on the characters, overshadowing Tristán Ulloa and Elena Anaya fine performances. When the “what” is finally revealed, it is just about what you would expect. There are plot revelations throughout the story, but keeping this particular element hidden seems unnecessary.

Gay chicken doesn’t work for girls.

The scenes of sensuality are explicit, but they are always in place to advance the story. The sexual byplay can be loving, titillating, gamesome, etc, while not feeling like cheap exploitation. The lead actor’s strong chemistry helps with the earlier scenes. There is little posturing between Vega and Ulloa. They have a natural chemistry, so the sexuality does not seem tawdry. Later, when sexuality is overtly aimed to titillate, it directly connects into the characters mindsets. It is only when actual pornography is used Medem crosses the line. That characters mindset combined with the real intercourse pulls you right out of the scene.

You can quibble about little things but the overall effect is intriguing. Sex and Lucía is not meant to been viewed passively. On the surface, this is nothing more than simple melodrama, but Medem and company elevate the material. Allowing the characters to behave unexpectedly and giving the central story room to meander injects overcooked material with a fresh vibe. Medem missteps at points but it is never dull, even at its extended running time. Give Sex and Lucía your undivided attention, it is a pleasure watching it fall into place.

Looks like a Mormon I used to watch.

The Package

Shot with a Sony HD camera, the blu-ray disc brings out the images finer details. Even during the overexposed sequences, which flattens out much of the background, the details in the foreground still come to life. The dark levels are often rich and deep, with only the slightest hint of grain, and the skin tones always pop. This is a really impressive transfer.

“Behind the Scenes of Sex and Lucía” is a twenty-six minute making-of documentary that gives us some insight into the production process. The documentary covers the directors vision to actors take on their characters to production details. The “Cast Interviews” section covers some additional material not touched on in the documentary. The photo gallery is worthwhile, although not allowing us to have a peek at the polaroids pictures taken during one of the scenes is a missed opportunity. The disc also contains excerpts from the fantastic score.

Dear fuckwads, I heard about your big move. Well, trading up a lemon party for Roman Showers isn’t that big of a deal. May you suck shit and die. Love…Gwai Lo.

8.9 out of 10