By Don Simpson | January 26, 2013
Director: Nadia Szold
Writer: Nadia Szold
Starring: Evan Louison, Patricia Black, Claudia Cardinale, Joséphine de La Baume, Iva Gocheva, Maïa Ibar, Vadim Imperioli, Victoria Imperioli, Katharina Kowalewski, Kristina Lieberson, Lizzie Lieberson, Biagio Pergolizzi, Diane Prusha, Steven Rishard, Robbie Ross, Rocco Sisto
Roman’s (Evan Louison) wife Joy (Joséphine de La Baume) is seven months pregnant when she goes missing. Obviously distraught by her absence, Roman commences an odyssey across New York City to find her. His goal is clear, but his path is uncertain. Roman’s tangential journey is like a lucid dream as he is hypnotically pulled from one scenario to the next. Encountering countless dead-ends and false-leads, Roman’s quest seems practically hopeless. It might be Joy who is missing, but Roman is totally lost without her. Sirens tempt Roman with wine and kisses, a soothsayer provides him with oblique clues — it seems every location is brimming with unique characters and interesting objects.
Nadia Szold’s Joy de V. is like a classic Film Noir with a surrealist bent that takes us on a meandering tour through a New York City that is saturated with history. Everyone whom Roman encounters seems to wear the significance of their individual [international] pasts on their faces, just as each location is intrinsically connected to the class and culture of a different generation. The ghosts of time and place always seem to be lingering, as if attempting to provide Roman with clues about Joy’s whereabouts.
It is Szold’s unyielding feminine eye that turns Joy de V. into a unique cinematic experience as a classic narrative form is weaved into something entirely new and profound. The obvious falseness of it all might seem a bit disconcerting — everything seems a bit too unreal, the acting a bit too stilted — but that adds to the discreet charm of Joy de V. This film does not exist in our reality, Joy de V. represents an alternate universe that floats in very close proximity to our world.