Sex and Lucía, not surprisingly, boasts ample doses of both sex and Lucía, but its rather straightforward title doesn’t begin to intimate what a simultaneously confounding and enticing experience the film really is. Julio Medem’s sumptuous, smoldering, and ultimately confusing fable begins in the middle, with Lucía (the fiery Paz Vega) fleeing her home after thinking her novelist boyfriend Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa) has killed himself. The film’s first half jumps back and forth between the past and present, cross-cutting between the couple’s passionate first steps together (shot graphically, but not lewdly) and Lucía’s self-imposed exile on a mysterious island off the coast of Spain that Lorenzo spoke of reverently but refused to visit with her. The island, it turns out, is a land mass magically floating in the water, untethered to the sea bottom below, and seems to cast an amorous spell on its inhabitants. Years earlier, Lorenzo had a one-night stand with a stranger (Najwa Nimri) while visiting the island on his birthday, and it is revealed that his water-logged tryst resulted in a daughter. Struck by this sudden revelation, Lorenzo begins surreptitiously visiting the child, and the film, like the island at the heart of its tale, becomes unmoored. Hyper-sexual nannies, porn star mothers, well-endowed hunks, and a severely untrained dog come together to toss both Lorenzo and Lucía’s worlds upside down. Characters float in and out of both Lorenzo and Lucía’s lives and fantasies, and chance encounters and coincidences conspire to bring these loosely-related people together toward some greater revelation. What that might be, however, is never satisfactorily answered. Medem’s storytelling skills are significantly more jumbled and rudimentary than his gift for widescreen photography (buoyed by digital video that casts every outdoor scene in beautifully blooming white light) and knack for conveying the rapture of uninhibited lovemaking, and the film ends up being more entrancing mood piece than coherent narrative. As an exploration of the ways in which people’s responsibilities to each other are hopelessly intertwined with the responsibilities they have to themselves, Sex and Lucía winds up making very little logical sense. As a randy film about sexy people in gorgeous places being pushed and pulled (literally and figuratively) by desire, however, it makes for an arousing good time.
Julio Medem chose to shoot Sex and Lucía in digital video and, although many will take issue with the overexposed quality of many outdoor scenes, the film's cinematography has an understated grace that comes through wonderfully on this DVD edition of the film (Unrated and R-Rated versions are available separately). The luscious blues and yellows of the island seem to leap off the screen, and blacks-with the exception of one brief make-out session-are nice and inky. A tiny bit of shimmering and film grain hold the transfer back from being exceptional. Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 surround sound tracks are included, but since the film employs little in the way of surround (much less panning and imaging) effects, both are pleasantly unassuming and totally unremarkable.
"Behind the Scenes of Sex and Lucía" is a 25-minute featurette boasting interviews with the cast and crew, production footage, and film clips. While it doesn't make up for the absence of a commentary or in-depth documentary, this supplement definitely proves to be a cut above the normal studio-produced promotional fluff frequently found on DVD. A set of nine bonus interviews with the cast and crew each run under three minutes, and do little to elaborate on their comments heard in the featurette. Three songs from the film's soundtrack can be listened to while watching behind-the-scenes footage from the film, and a photo gallery houses still production images. A series of cast and crew biographies, the film's trailers, previews (for The Believer and The Last Minute), and weblinks are also included.
Even if you can't make heads or tails of Sex and Lucía's story, there's no dearth of naked pleasures to keep one's, ahem, mind at attention.