The most frequent question I hear in the post-festival frenzy is, "I heard about this great film. When's it opening?" Unless it's a major studio release, the answer can only be, "I have no idea."
As a case in point, Sex And Lucía opens this week. While it has any number of saleable points, including extensive nudity, Mediterranean beaches and director Julio Medem (The Lovers Of The Arctic Circle), it's taken a full year to wend its way through the world festival circuit and wind up back where it started. (Its international premiere was at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2001.)
On one level, Sex And Lucía is dismissable as high-toned soft porn. On another, with its shifting points of view and literary gamesmanship the film resembles one of those Julio Cortázar novels where you can rearrange the chapters and come up with a different and equally valid book.
Lucía (Paz Vega) is a waiter. Writer Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa) is haunted by a single act of sexual passion he had with a stranger on an island vacation. Years later he finds out that there's a child as a result. He disappears. She thinks he's dead. She goes to the island. Everybody has a lot of sex.
Confused? Don't worry. The synopsis is a lot less confusing than the story, which involves a nanny whose mother's a porn star, mysterious caves under the sea and -- did I mention? -- a lot of sex?
Medem's script does pull it all together, but what makes the film work is the director's very striking visual sense. This is one of the year's best-looking films, and Medem's compositions of rock-strewn coastlines and overheated people have an undeniable firstname.lastname@example.org
SEX AND LUCÍA directed and written by Julio Medem, produced by Fernando Bovaira and Enrique Lpez Lavigne, with Paz Vega, Tristán Ulloa, Najwa Nimri and Daniel Freire. 122 minutes. An Alicia Production. A Mongrel Media release. Opens Friday (September 27). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies Rating: NNN