At once openly erotic and elusively convoluted Sex and Lucia is one of the most noteworthy movies of 2001.
Directed by one of Spain's best directors, Julio Medem, the film has a narrative structure which plays with time to such effect that it's not easy to lay out in a simple plot description. But, basically, a waitress named Lucia (Paz Vega) gets news that her boyfriend Lorenzo (Tristan Ulloa) may have died so she immediately runs away to a secluded Mediterranean island where she can be alone and perhaps learn something about his life.
The film then flashes back six years and we meet Lorenzo and (briefly) another woman named Elena (Silvia Llanos) and then the various threads of the story lead the viewer to the current situation. Lorenzo, a disheveled ragtag writer [aren't they all?] and Lucia a sexy waitress [fearless and beautiful], meet one day in the café where Lucia works and they quickly begin a relationship.
They soon start living together and Lucia's love inspires Lorenzo to begin writing again; but eventually his life begins to spiral out-of-control when he encounters his past, which leads him into a deep depression. Amid all this are a good number of quality [and graphic] sex scenes, which are part and parcel to the narrative structure of the film and add a much needed weight and meaning to the relationships between the characters.
As the film jumps back and forth in time it begins to blur the boundaries between fiction and reality - especially with regards to the novel that Lorenzo is writing. And at a certain point it becomes clear that all of the characters are connected in ways that they never could have imagined.
Sex and Lucia works best if few plot points are revealed to the viewer. The only thing I'll say is that it may take two viewings to reveal the entire plot, untangle the time jumps and all the connections. But, as someone who has seen the film twice, I can say it is worth it.
Like Star Wars Episode 2, this film was shot in 1080 p24 HD (high definition) video. A Sony HDW-F900 camera was used and the16x9 image was hard matted to 2.35:1. It looks very good. The image has a film look, especially with the outdoor overexposed images and darker indoor lighting, which is usually apropos to film stocks. There is some edge enhancement and some noticeable image artefact otherwise it is very sharp.
Audio is presented in Dolby 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1 and the Spanish dialogue comes across clean and easy to hear. The award winning score by Alberto Iglesias sounds great.
The extras aren't too bad for a foreign language film that made under $10 million at the U.S. boxoffice (not that that really matters). First up is a 25 minute Making-of Featurette that includes interviews with all of the actors and some of the crew and good behind-the-scenes footage. Next up are nine cast and crew interviews, which include some of the same comments that are in the Featurette. Then there is a distinctive feature consisting of three musical pieces from the award winning score matched up with more behind-the-scene footage. Besides a trailer there are also short bios of all the principle actors and a Photo Gallery.
Sex and Lucia has all the makings of an art house cult classic and this Lions Gate / Palm Pictures DVD has done a fine job of respecting the intriguing quality of the film with a good DVD and some modest extras.