You wouldn't expect to see one of the films of Julio Medem (RED SQUIRREL, LOVERS OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE) covered by UNRATED, but this 2002 production breaks new ground with it's highly erotic and candid depictions of sex, that resulted in the movie being released without an MPAA certificate in the US, and which ought to be seen by anyone who enjoys challenging and provocative filmmaking.
Utilising thematics common to Medemâ€™s earlier works, (that include character names as metaphor, Greek tragedy, and the juxtaposition of sun and moon to represent life and love, and death), this superbly crafted vision of unrequited love weaves a spellbinding and dream-like tale, across the realms of reality and fantasy, featuring four protagonists whose destinies are entwined in a circle of passion.
We are introduced to Lucia (Pas Vega), seen strolling amongst the sunny beaches of an (anomynous) island, and in flashback learn that she has fled there, following a phone call from the police leading her to believe that her lover has died in a car accident.
Six years previously. Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa) is approached by Lucia (Paz Vega) in a Madrid coffee bar, where she immediately declares her love and asks to live with him, having read his first novel and been captivated by its poetical charm. Overwhelmed by her bold display of affection, Lorenzo agrees, and the two set off for a whirlwind romance, in which passionate sex comes first and foremost.
As the initial fervour of their relationship subsides, Lorenzo reveals he is haunted by a chance encounter on a beautiful island with a woman he seduced on his 25th birthday, where against the background of the full moon, they made love. Memories of their encounter return to fill the pages of Lorenzo’s new novel and he starts to fantasize what became of her.
On his birthday, Lorenzo's best friend, Pepe (Javier Cámara), informs him that he has arranged a rendezvous for him involving his nurse sister and the mother of a child she had helped deliver four years previously. Pepe goes on to explain that the woman conceived as a result of a one night encounter spent making passionate love to a stranger on an island. Instead of wanting to know more details about the mother and the nurse, Lorenzo presses Pepe for details of the daughter and is informed her name is Luna.
From this point the narrative twists through aspects of the past, present and future, entwining the complicated sexual relationships involving young nanny, Belén (Elena Anaya), Luna's mother, Elena (Najwa Nimri), and her lover, Antonio (Daniel Freire). The tale also interweaves several plot threads involving double murder, pornography, and the accidental death of a young girl, all of which have transient repercussions for the characters. I can't really begin to describe the plot in its entirety; the film's ambiguous structure is one of the joys the viewer should be left to discover for themselves.
The highly photogenic cast are filmed sensuously by Kika de la Rica with soft dream overexposures, set against the stunning backdrop of Madrid and the Balearic Islands, and accompanied by Alberto Iglesias' poignant score. Sex on the screen has never looked more beautiful, and I recommend this film unreservedly.
Carl T. Ford
Directed by Juilo Medem
Spanish Language with optional Subtitles in English, and French.
SPECIAL DVD FEATURES
A Lions Gate Home Entertainment Release
Region 1. NTSC. Stereo 5.1.
SEX AND LUCIA