Starring: Paz Vega, Tristán Ulloa, Elena Anaya
Director: Julio Medem
Running Time: 129 mins
Sex And Lucia (Lucía y el sexo) is a Spanish film about the lives of various men and women which begin to intersect, all surrounding the troubles of an author and an isolated island.
The great thing about this film is that it’s a very well-directed, artistically interesting and often extremely immersive watch. With its score, abstract structure and camerawork, there’s a lot about Sex And Lucia that’s really impressive to look at. Its story isn’t all that bad either, and features some interesting and unpredictable twists and turns, but the film suffers as a whole due to its very slow pacing, often overly abstract style and explicit nudity.
But before all that, let’s talk about what makes this such a technically intriguing film. From the start, director Julio Medem does a fantastic job to set the mood of an uneasy atmosphere by giving the film a darker, almost sepia tone, setting us up for the bumpy emotional ride ahead. That feeling is compounded further as the film unfolds by the use of deliberately unsteady camerawork.
Don’t worry, it’s not shaky cam, but you’ll definitely feel queasy from time to time looking at this film, simply because there’s numerous sequences (normally when in the middle of high drama) that it seems as if the camera is hanging off its tripod, flailing around while still recording. It’s a slightly unpleasant effect for the stomach, but as far as getting across the power of certain moments goes, it’s very impressive to see.
The score is also part of the artistic nature of the film. Although not always quite as outlandish as the cinematography and direction, the music here plays a very important role in reinforcing and often even heightening the sense of confusion and loss amidst the characters’ various stories. Sometimes rapid and intense, at others much more cathartic, the music in this movie is very memorable, and another great element that makes it often very powerful.
However, as impressive as some things are about Sex And Lucia, I still have quite a few issues that made it somewhat of a disappointing watch for me, the biggest of which comes in the form of its non-chronological structure.
Non-linear stories have often made for some of my favourite films, and especially when it comes to romantic dramas, they’re usually very effective. However, the problem I found with Sex And Lucia is that it becomes all too fluid with its portrayal of different time periods. It’s entirely deliberate of course, and meant to accentuate the characters’ confusion, but I felt too confused myself watching the film float between time periods to the point where it’s completely indistinguishable, as a result feeling none of the emotional effect intended.
Then we have to talk about the nudity. It’s fair to say that this film is pretty graphic when it comes to sex scenes, as well as just general nudity. Although the arty style of the film means it’s not quite as brutal and frank as the likes of Y Tu Mamá También, it’s very strong, and to the point that it becomes a little unpleasant to watch. Again, it’s an entirely deliberate choice by Medem, but for me, it was a little too much to keep invested in the story as well, which was very disappointing to see.
Overall, Sex And Lucia is a good, interesting film, with some brilliantly impressive directing, cinematography and scoring that make it an often very immersive and even powerful watch. However, its loose structure goes a little too far, making for a somewhat confusing watch, whilst the very graphic nature of its nudity occasionally takes over the entire film, leaving little room to stay invested in the story, so that’s why I’m giving this a 7.3.