The Ages of Lulu

1990 [SPANISH]

Drama

0
IMDb Rating 5.6 10 3478

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 19, 2021 at 01:20 AM

Director

Cast

Javier Bardem as Jimmy
Francesca Neri as Lulú / wife
Santiago Segura as Camillero
720p.BLU
925.44 MB
1280*682
Spanish 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by charlottesweb 7 / 10

One woman's desires

This early (1990) major feature from Bigas Luna is the one which – not surprisingly – got him noticed. It is an uncompromising study of sexuality, exploring desires which most directors would shy away from – on and probably off the camera. Italian actress Francesca Neri plays the lead character. It's an erotic, uninhibited performance, taking Lulu from an innocent virgin with a crush on her brother's friend to a woman so desperate for carnal gratification that she trawls bars looking for men with which to have three-way sex. For some, the film's frankness – masturbation, homosexual sex and cunnilingus – and exploration of everything from transsexual sex to incest might bring it close to pornography. But it is refreshing to see these challenging areas of sex dealt with by a competent director and good cast of actors. It hints at the themes which would run through Luna's later work, such as Jamon, Jamon and Golden Balls but without the quirky humour of those films. Slightly exhausting, perhaps taking on too much of the dark side of sexuality.

Reviewed by ascheland 7 / 10

The Lunacy of Bigas

Bigas Luna's movies are difficult to come by in the U.S., but judging from the few I've seen -- "Jamon, jamon," "Golden Balls," and "The Ages of Lulu" -- he could easily become one of my favorite directors. His movies aren't perfect by any stretch, but I like his direct approach to sexuality and his fondness for envelope pushing. And he really pushes it in "The Ages of Lulu," which takes the standard non-plot of most erotic dramas -- a woman's sexual awakening -- and takes it into dark, disturbing and daring realms. "Emmanuelle" this is not.

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.

Reviewed by alice liddell 5 / 10

They don't make rites-of-passage movies like this in Hollywood.

It is difficult to know whether Bigas Luna is an unreconstructed celebrator of machismo, or a sly critic of it. In Jamon Jamon, the hero's tragedy is linked to his phallic power, but so is much of the film's energy and pleasure. In Golden Balls, the hero is plainly subject to critique, but the treatment of women is frequently exploitative.

The Ages Of Lulu differs from these hits in having a woman as protagonist. One of the interests of the film is in the way the viewer is never sure what direction it is going to take. It begins with the lightest of touches, and ends in dark tragedy. On one level, it is a rite-of-passage story (the crucial early scenes are soundtracked to pastiche early rock'n'roll), as we follow the growth to maturity of a naive young girl, from the object of male fantasy, to a woman who recognises her own desire, and knows how to satisfy it; from someone who must tell stories to arouse her lovers, to someone who narrates her own self-defining story.

Lulu's greater independence, however, is treated with solemnity and fear by the film, which is also a rigorous exploration of sexuality as site of character, identity, gender role-play, philosophy and politics (almost a comic Ai No Corrida, although this terror of female transgression recalls Lulu's famous namesakes in Wedekind, Pabst and Berg). However, the admirable realism and nervous pleasurability of the early sex scenes become dark, demonised and dangerous the more freedom Lulu gains. The final nightmare orgy brings Lulu to her senses, and back to her selfish wimpy man. Her consistently marginalised transvestite friend is sacrificed so that heterosexuality can reassert itself.

The irony of this film is not as apparent as it is in Luna's more famous films, and Spanish audiences might be more alert to the contemporary resonances than I am. Phalluses abound in this still strongly patriarchal culture. There is none of the verve, colour and melodramatic swagger of Jamon Jamon in Luna's direction here, which is detached, yet prurient. The film shares many of the same features as an 80s Almodovar movie, but without the extravagant formal means of ironising the material. The story begins to get monotonous when the finger begins to wag. There isn't much opportunity for good acting: Neri is much better in Live Flesh, though she ages convincingly here.

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