Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sound of the Sea

Son de Mar; Erotic drama, Spain, 2001; D: Bigas Luna, S: Lenor Watling, Jordi Mollà, Eduard Fernández, Sergio Caballero

Young poet Ulises gets a job as a teacher in a high school situated in Valencia. He notices that Martina, the daughter of a cook, lives near his apartment. The rich businessman Sierra constantly tries to seduce Martina, but she rejects him every time. She brings Ulises to a disco and a cave. There the two of them start a passionate relationship. When she gets pregnant, Ulises marries her despite the objections of his parents. After he gets a son, Ulises buys a fishing ship but disappears without a trace in a storm. Martina marries Sierra. After a few years, Ulises calls her on the phone and explains that he survived the storm. She returns to him and they have intercourse in an empty building. Out of jealousy, Sierra makes a hole in their ship and they drown.

Director Bigas Luna, after a few acclaimed and noticed movies, got out of the shape with "The Sound of the Sea", a too overstretched modern adaptation of Homer's "Odyssey" that suffers from too much empty walk. While in "O Brother!" the Coen brothers adapted Homer's epic poem humorously, Luna adapted it erotically: Ulises and Martina (Lenora Watling, who will a year later star in Almodovar's drama "Talk to Her") often have intercourse, just like in every typical Luna film. Ulises mostly excites her with songs where he compares her breasts with snakes from the sea, whereas when she thinks about him while she has intercourse with Sierra, tears start coming to her eyes. Probably the most poetic, almost esoteric moment, comes in the tragic end, where they lie dead on the table, but suddenly "come to life" and again start to kiss and hug, maybe showing how love even overcomes death. Unfortunately, it all seems like a short version of a soap opera, too poor with real quality or directorial style, while many important things were not shown, which is why the film creates a sloppy ambiguity.


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