Sex and Lucia (Lucia Y El Sexo)
***.1 GM
Starring: Paz Vega, Tristan Ulloa, Najwa Nimri, Daniel Freyre, Elena Anaya, Silvia Llanos

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Okay, okay. I'll be honest here. When you're at Sundance, there are so many films to choose from that sometimes you just have to go with gutteral instincts on which films to actually see, and sometimes you rely simply on what you've heard (or overheard) about a film to base your choices on. First I heard about this film, it was something I might have to kick teenagers out of, should I be working at the theater when it was playing. The whole 'taboo' instinct kicks in, and you want to see just what the kids aren't allowed to see - one of the advantages of adulthood - and since 'sex' is in the title, it might just be interesting or, at the very least, titillating, and after you've seen a billion movies a day for several days, titillation sounds all the more enticing. However, I managed to resist this puerile urge until a friend saw it and actually told me it was good. True, I suppose I could have played the Sundance card and said 'well, it's at an indie film festival, it must be more arty than titillating,' but I decided to wait until I actually had confirmation of quality from a source I trusted before I gave in. Plus, I think the real title is funnier - "Lucia And The Sex."

Turns out it IS pretty good, and yes, there's copious amounts of sex in it, although it's pretty much over in the first half of the film. It's an intricately constructed tale of chance and romance. A writer has some great anonymous sex one time on this island paradise, then goes back home, not realizing he's knocked her up. He then meets the love of his life, Lucia. After years of bliss, he finds out about his child and how the woman was searching for him, and secretly gets drawn into that world when he starts a long flirtation with his daughter's babysitter. He's at a loss for what to do. Lucia, however, is getting annoyed that the the love of her life is growing increasingly distant. After a couple of severe accidents, everyone involved winds up reuniting on that island and the need for resolution is addressed.

It's a beautiful film, full of interesting images and ideas. The pacing is a bit slow and it feels a little too long, but never painfully so. It wasn't profoundly affecting by any means, but it was involving enough to watch a man's anguish as he tries to deal with the pain of realizing he's been an absent father and how much emotional trauma that must have caused for both mother and daughter, and how he doesn't feel he can confess this tragedy to his current love, and of course, when something's bothering you and you don't talk about it to your loved ones, they get hurt and angry about it because they can't help you.

Suspension of disbelief is needed here to believe everybody manages to wind up together, extraneous characters be damned, but it's a bit of a study of the benevolence and therapeutic effects of creative writing and storytelling, too, so it can be forgiven its abandonment of realism from time to time.

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