Lucía y el Sexo  (2001) from Tuna and Scoopy

Tuna's comments in white: Lucia y el sexo (2001) was released in Europe, and then showed up there on video as it was being released theatrically here. The European video price was around $100.00 US.  It has finally been released in Spain at sell-through prices, and, I believe, is still playing theatrically here. You might remember that Seattle newspapers refused to print advertising for it, because of strong sexual content.

The IMDB summary was written by writer/director Julio Medem, and is worth quoting here.

"Lucía is a young waitress in a restaurant in the centre of Madrid. After the loss of her long-time boyfriend, a writer, she seeks refuge on a quiet, secluded Mediterranean island. There, bathed in an atmosphere of fresh air and dazzling sun, Lucía begins to discover the dark corners of her past relationship, as if they were forbidden passages of a novel which the author now, from afar, allows her to read."

Frankly, after watching it, that is not the summary I would have written, but may, in fact, be the correct one. The story is not told in a linear fashion, and it is difficult to figure out what is real, what is fantasy, and what is part of the novel. I believe this was intentional, and also effective.


see the main commentary

There is no question about the nudity and sexuality in this film, Paz Vega as Lucia, Elena Anaya as a babysitter, and Diana Suárez as her mother, a porn star, all show all three Bs, including good full frontal shots. Another woman, probably a stunt double, is naked in a night underwater sex scene. It was Najwa Nimri's character, but I doubt it was her, and the scene was too dark, anyway. There is also plenty of male full frontal, including a closeup of Vega stroking Tristán Ulloa's erection. A shower nozzle masturbation scene from Anaya, as well as one with a dildo on a sofa while watching one of her mother's porno films sizzle.

I found myself caught up in the characters, and in the scenes, and didn't mind that I had to work to figure out what was really happening. My only criticism of this film has to do with the decision to shoot it on digital video. The camera was simply not up to the task, especially on white sand beaches under full Mediterranean sun. Much of the film is very washed out.

Scoop's comments in yellow:

You have to give a tip of the ol' hat to director Julio Medem. Get this: he makes a medium core sex film on digital video for about twenty bucks. Many of the scenes are in white and white, with only some vague outlines of things in cyan to indicate that the film is still rolling. The director obviously has no script or plot of any kind, just some mostly unrelated scenes where people act breathlessly, as if every word were pregnant with meaning, ala The Young and the Restless. In fact, there is a death by rottweiler because of someone else is too busy having sex with the babysitter to intervene. I think they did actually use that on The Young and the Restless.


The funniest scene was the one where Lucia finds out her boyfriend is not really dead. You see, the entire movie hinges on the fact that Lucia receives a phone call from the police while she reads a farewell note from the boyfriend. She drops the phone, runs off to some island, does a lot of thinking, blah blah. Well, it turns out that the police were just calling to solicit a donation for the Policeman's Ball, and the boyfriend is perfectly OK. Lucia is in a room, the boyfriend's best friend walks through the door, we hear footsteps, we see shadows. We know another person is coming. Who could it be? We hear some more footsteps, and see some more shadows. Finally, the friggin' guy walks through the door. Hilarious!

The writers for The Young and the Restless should sue this guy!

To cover up the fact that he has no storyline except that a guy presumed dead is really alive, the director has one of the characters pose as the author of the story, and he narrates with such portentous and pretentious lines as "but suppose our story does not end, but simply falls into a hole, whereupon it begins again in the middle!"


This guy is a genius. Not only does he get people to accept it as a mainstream film, but he actually gets  the Spanish academy to give him some awards, and gets people to declare that it is a work of art.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • featurette: the making of

  • photo gallery

  • cast interviews

Well, it is, in a way. It is one of the most arty medium-core sex films ever. It is artier than The Lover with Jane March. But The Lover has a comprehensible story line, and is one of the most beautifully filmed movies I've ever seen. This is ... well, it's not a bad sex film, but it's not an especially great one either.

On the other hand, it is a good sex film that allows you to watch and beat off while telling your wife that you're studying the new expressionism of the contemporary Spanish cinema. How can you complain about that?

The Critics Vote

  • Roger Ebert 3/4, Entertainment weekly B-.

  • UK consensus: 2 stars. Daily Telegraph 6/10, Independent 5/10, The Guardian 6/10, The Times 6/10, Evening Standard 4/10, The Express 6/10, BBC 4/5

  • Spanish opinion: the film was nominated for 11 Goyas, winning two minor ones (best new actress, best musical score)

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. Voting results: IMDb voters score it a near-classic 7.5/10, Metacritic voters 6.6/10, Yahoo voters 4.4/5

And ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even 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. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). 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 has way too much nudity and sexuality for much crossover. Indeed, it is really about women's sexuality, and the consequences of that sexuality, but that is the only thing holding me to a C+. If you enjoy nudity and sexuality, and can deal with subtitles, watch this one. (Scoop says, C. A fairly good sex film. If you don't want to see sex, skip it, because everything else is boring and pretentious.)

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