The Ages of Lulu
- 1h 35min
The story of a young woman's descent into the kinky and dangerous sexual underground in Madrid.The story of a young woman's descent into the kinky and dangerous sexual underground in Madrid.The story of a young woman's descent into the kinky and dangerous sexual underground in Madrid.
Lulu (Francesca Neri) is a virginal teen in Madrid who's got a crush on her brother's friend Pablo (Oscar Ladoire). Pablo takes Lulu to a concert and quickly introduces her to oral sex, shaves her privates and, finally, takes her virginity. Then he's off to the U.S. When he returns Lulu is older but still smitten. After a painful introduction to anal sex, Pablo proposes. Once married, the couple spend most of their time having athletic sex. They pick-up Ely, a trannie hooker/Cher lookalike (played by female Maria Barranco, with some prosthetic help), and even though Ely ends up being a third wheel in the inevitable threesome, she ultimately befriends the couple. She even babysits when they have a daughter. But then one of Pablo's sex games goes too far and Lulu leaves him. On her own, she whiles away her days writing and watching bi-sexual porn videos. Intrigued by man-on-man action, she goes down to a sleazy gay bar and is soon involved in some intense sex play with three gay men (one of whom is played by a young Javier Bardem), who are paid for their services. She's a full-fledged sex addict, and like all addicts, she's going to hit bottom.
I've read reviews of this movie that term the sex scenes as "near pornographic." I wouldn't go that far -- much of the action is darkly lit, with bare crotches often hidden in shadow -- though it's clearly in NC-17 territory, and clearly not a movie that would be made in the U.S. I suspect Luna's portraying homosexual activity in the same unflinching directness that he shows the hetero action may be the real reason people are labeling this movie "pornography" and "filth."
But sex isn't "Lulu"'s problem; narrative is. It's hard to get a grasp on the movie's time frame: it appears to start in the 1960s, then goes directly to the late 1980s, bypassing the 1970s altogether. Lulu's never really defined beyond her sexuality, so she never quite connects as a character. When she leaves her husband she takes their young daughter, but then the girl disappears from her life -- and the movie -- completely. And why does the exploration of sexuality (particularly female sexuality) always have to have such dire consequences? Then again, maybe I'm over-analyzing. That's the problem with "Lulu": it doesn't always aim below the belt, but it can't seem to get its mind out of the gutter.
"The Ages of Lulu" may not be all that easy to watch, but like the Bigas Luna movies I've seen so far, it's even more difficult to forget.
- May 1, 2010