Sex and Lucia (Lucía y el Sexo) (2001)

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Released 21-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
Music Highlights-Soundtrack Excerpts
Trailer-Julio Medem Trailer Reel
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Vengo, Live Flesh, Nine Queens, Amores Perros
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 122:33
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Julio Medem
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Paz Vega
Tristán Ulloa
Najwa Nimri
Daniel Freire
Elena Anaya
Javier Cámara
Silvia Llanos
Diana Suárez
Juan Fernández
Charo Zapardiel
María Álvarez
Javier Coromina
Arsenio León
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Alberto Iglesias


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    With awards including Best Actress and Best Original Score (along with 12 other nominations) in the Spanish Goya Awards, and winner of the Emerging Master award, Audience award and Best Director at the Seattle International Film Festival, this means that we have here both a great and interesting film and an almost impossible plot synopsis.

    There are two reasons why the plot synopsis will be difficult for this film. The first is that the journey of discovery that you take along with the main characters is a major part of the experience and I don't want to risk any spoilers. Secondly, I am not sure that I followed the entire sequence on the first time through.

    There appears to be three layers to the film; the first is the past, the second is the present and the third is a reflection of a novel that is being written within the film. I was lost at times as to whether the novel was reflecting the real life events of the characters or if some scenes were visualizations of parts of the book. The time line throughout the film moves in two streams, the first being that the film starts in the present and moves forward, but there are many flashbacks that lead up and then slightly past the original point (but from a different perspective).

    Our title character is Lucia, a young waitress in Madrid who tracks down and moves in with a writer that she fell in love with by reading one of his novels. This writer, Lorenzo, is going through a very interesting and somewhat dark period as we join the story. He is suffering from writer's block and I think is exploring life, both the bright and darker sides, as source material for his next novel.

    The film uses these two characters to explore many themes; life, sex, death and in particular the fickle hand of fate. The back cover tells us that this film is a reversal of Julio Medem's previous film where the main character moved towards death whereas this character moves towards life. I haven't seen the previous film, so cannot make this comparison myself. What I can see is that the plot device used to make this switch left me a little confused.

    The front cover tells us that this film is "Daring, sexy...intensely erotic". I suppose in comparison to Hollywood films there is certainly more erotic and explicit material present but I don't think that I would go so far as to call it 'intensely erotic'.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented at what is undoubtedly its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with 16x9 enhancement.

    The image is sharp - even moving objects are reasonably sharp. Shadow detail is good but there is some very slight low level noise. On the island, the image is overexposed, but this is deliberate on the part of the director.

    Colours are good throughout with an interesting palette subtly used to indicate (along with the brightness) where you are in the timeline of the film, such as during the flashbacks.

    There are no obvious MPEG artefacts. The film was shot with High Definition video cameras, and this has given the film a particular look. There is some subtle video noise or pixel movement in many shots such as on the rocks in the background of the shot at 64:15. This is occasionally distracting if you have a very large screen.

    There are English and French subtitles available for this film - I watched with the English stream enabled. They are easy to read but I have no idea if the translation from the Spanish is accurate.

    The back cover for this disc states that it is a single sided, single layered disc. This appears to be incorrect as there is nearly seven gigabytes on the disc and that just won't fit onto a single layer. I am unsure if this is a dual layered disc or an RSDL disc - there doesn't appear to be a layer change during the film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are two soundtracks on this disc; Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. Both are in Spanish. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue quality appeared to be good, although it is always a little hard to tell when you don't speak the language. The audio is in sync with the picture.

    The music is very good and works with the on-screen action to draw you into the film.

    The surrounds are used to convey atmosphere and location such as the sound of the sea on the island. Whilst subtle, they do work well.

    The subwoofer is also used subtly and never draws undue attention to itself, but it does support the soundtrack very well.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is presented at 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced. The backdrop is a clever montage containing three of the main characters and the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

Featurette: Behind The Scenes (25:26)

    This is an interesting look at the making of the film, a combination of on site footage and interviews with the director and the main characters. While the story is talked about, I had hoped that they might have shed a little more light on the intention of some of the scenes but alas, no. Still, a very worthwhile inclusion, particularly as we hear about each actor's thoughts on their characters. This is presented at 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced with footage of the film letterboxed. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. Some of the audio during the interviews is quite badly distorted.

Cast and Crew Interviews.

    A series of interviews with the cast, crew and director. They vary from about a minute up to just over four minutes. They are simple talking head type interviews and much of the material has already been seen in the featurette. There is some extra material here but not a great deal. During the interviews, the screen goes completely black as they change topics and while this is not normally a great problem as you are concentrating on the screen to read the subtitles, the extreme change in contrast becomes quite annoying. You can play each interview separately or there is the option to play them all one after the other. They are presented at 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The audio problems seen during the featurette are here as well as this is the same source material.

Photo Gallery.

    18 photos with a nice Polaroid theme menu. Each of the pictures appears as a small Polaroid on the left of the screen. Selecting a particular Polaroid results in the image appearing on the right of the screen somewhat larger. The images only take up a small portion of the screen and are spread over two pages. The overall image is 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced but the photos are about 1.33:1. There is no audio.

Soundtrack excerpts.

    Three soundtrack excerpts that play over behind the scenes footage. There are three segments; Me Voy a Morir de Tanto Amor (1:53), Baja La Isla (3:06) and Yo Marco El Minuto (4:10). The behind the scenes footage is 1.76:1 letterboxed in a 1.33:1 screen and is not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

Julio Medem trailer reel.

    Trailers for four of the director's films: Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1:32) 1.76:1 and 16x9 enhanced, Red Squirrel (3:36) 1.76:1 letter boxed not 16x9 enhanced, Vacas (2:00) 1.76:1 letterboxed and not 16x9 enhanced and Tierra (2:24) 2.35:1 letterboxed and not 16x9 enhanced. All are accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Theatrical Trailer (2:22)

    Presented at 2.35:1 letterboxed and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The trailer plays up the sex involved in the film which I think misses the point of a fair proportion of the film.

Madman Propaganda

    Trailers for four other Madman releases; Vengo, Live Flesh, Nine Queens and Amores Perros.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There are two versions of this disc in R1, an unrated version and an R-rated version. This comparison will be against the unrated version. I believe that we have received the unrated version, though our rating is R, because the run times are equivalent once you take into account the 4% speed-up for PAL.

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    These are all very minor differences and as such I am calling a draw.

Summary

    While I said at the top of the review that I did not regard the film as intensely erotic, it is still a drama based in many ways around sex and its consequences and does contain some very lively scenes (not that these have a tendency to shock us here in Australia where our outlook on such things is fairly European). This is not a film that you will take in during one sitting and is an interesting study of human nature.

    The video is good but I expected slightly better from an HD source.

    The audio is good.

    The extras are a nice inclusion.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR800
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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