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A new literature teacher, Ulises, comes to a small town near the sea and falls in love with a young woman, Martina. This woman is loved by a rich businessman named Alberto but chooses Ulises. Soon after their marriage and the birth of their son, Ulises vanishes while fishing at sea. In the meanwhile Martina marries Alberto, but all is not what it seems... Written by
A risqué soap opera that occasionally transcends its limitations
Bigas Luna's 2001 film SON DE MAR is a tragic tale of sex and death on the southeast coast of Spain. The dashing Ulises (Jordi Mollà) moves to a seaside village to teach literature, and soon begins a relationship with the alluring Martina (Leonor Watling), the daughter of his landlord. After marriage and children, Ulises wants his freedom back, so he takes off into the unknown, and Martina remarries with Sierra (Eduard Fernández), the wealthy property investor who has pursued her the whole time. Ulises's return after several years creates a love triangle with sordid consequences.
This is essentially a soap opera, and one that relies on sex scenes far too much in order to pass the time. How much sex is here? Well, by the end of the film (or even at the midpoint), a nude Leonor Watling will no longer seem especially enticing. That must be the very definition of overdoing it. Still, it has a few elements that elevate it above total vacuity. For one, Ulises seduces Martina by quoting from the Aeneid, and though his repeated use of the same quotation to do so becomes tiresome, it's rather novel that Virgil's dusty old text is exploited for erotic potential. Also, Bigas Luna has a knack for writing tragedy in the conventional sense (protagonists with a fatal flaw), and the ending is quite memorable.
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