Las Edades de Lulú (1990) from Tuna

Las Edades de Lulú (1990)  (The Ages of Lulu) is written and directed by Bigas Luna, who also directed Jamón Jamón. It is based on an erotic novel by Almudena Grandes, who also co-authored the script, and wrote the novel "Malena, un nombre de tango'. The novel won awards as a great erotic novel. Italian born Francesca Neri plays the title role. We start with her as a young woman, going on her first date with her older brothers best friend. After a concert, he takes her to his mothers studio, shaves her pubes, and takes her virginity. She is heartbroken when she finds he is leaving soon to study in the US.

When he arrives home, it doesn't take long before they are alone together, and he introduces her to anal sex, then proposes to her. Early marriage is reasonably normal and passionate, but he cultivates her fascination with female impersonators, and they end up having a threesome with one of them (actually played by a woman, María Barranco, complete with prosthetic penis), who becomes a life-long friend. They have a daughter, which leads to another period of normalcy, then, at a party, he blindfolds her and makes a sandwich together with her brother. When she finds out, she leaves him on the spot.


Neri shows all three Bs, but usually in dark or oddly lit scenes, and Barranco shows her breasts in a restaurant. There is substantial male nudity, and a "transvestite" (actually played by a woman) whose penis is prosthetic.
Unhappy and alone, she turns to porn for an outlet, and discovers that male homosexual sex turns her on, so she gets more and more involved  in a gay sex and S&M scene. I will leave some surprises for the end.  The film is highly thought of in many circles. Had the transfer been better, I might have felt the same way, but didn't find it especially stimulating.
no region 1 DVD
María Barranco won a Goya for best supporting actress. I can just see the American Academy awarding an Oscar for a porn role!  
Scoop's comments in yellow:

Based entirely on what can be seen on this Spanish DVD, this film is not worth your time. The film's only real value is as a piece of erotica. The plot and characterization are essentially unimportant and lacking in credibility. Indeed, it might be a decent piece of erotica if we could see what's happening, but this particular transfer is filled with blur, color fading and visible interlacing.

Not many people will enjoy this somewhat depraved look at Lulu's eventual fall into bizarre play-for-pay practices, especially if you don't have any inclination to see naked men dancing around and waving their willies. Those few who would enjoy it will not be able to enjoy it on this poorly transferred DVD.

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDB readers have it at 5.9 of 10, which is a very respectable score for a foreign soft-core film.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. Were the transfer better, I might rate it higher, but as is, it is a C-. Scoop says, " I disagree. I'd say it WOULD be a C with a decent transfer, if the genre is erotica (D as a mainstream drama). As it stands with this transfer, F is the only possible grade. It looks like a bunch of blurry, faded figures in a home movie."

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