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directed by Sergio Bergonzelli
Canada/France 1983

 

Purporting to be the scandalous memoirs of a pseudonymous French model Joy Laurey, JOY was the first of a series of erotic novels which was adapted to screen and later as a series of softcore cable movies; much like the THE STORY OF O, the EMMANUELLE novels and LE DECLIC comics. Joy (Claudia Udy, EDGE OF SANITY) is a fashion model with some daddy issues (having as a child accidentally seen her parents having sex). All grown up and on her way to stardom - in a chick-with-a-gun action film being shot in New York by a director named George Miller (not that one), she leaves her current rock star boyfriend Alain (Manuel Gelin, whose SLOGAN character was similarly cast off by Jane Birkin in favor of the more worldly Serge Gainsbourg) for older, wealthy Marc (Gérard-Antoine Huart, who later made the erotica rounds in EMMANUELLE IV and the film of LE DECLIC). She lets him lead her into various erotic encounters involving video cameras and orgies at secret clubs in between jetting off to international modeling jobs where she tests other men for their potential as the perfect mate. While off on her New York shoot, she meets New Age-y Bruce (Kenneth Legallois) who introduces her to Tantric sex and starts looking for Joy's father behind her back ("My true love is a ghost"). Things get ugly with Marc but a phone call from Bruce (and a convenient telegram) drive Joy to confront her past. Directed by Italian exploitation director Sergio Bergonzelli (as Serge Bergon since this is a French/Canadian co-production), JOY is slick if a little over-long but Bergonzelli knows how to continually top himself with erotic set-pieces; piling more and more lathered and tanned naked, gyrating bodies upon each other once the constant sight of Udy's perpetually erect nipples starts to lose its novelty value. Looking like a cross between a young Goldie Hawn and Farrah Fawcett, Udy isn't a particularly compelling presence (then again, the film doesn't really have that compelling a plot) but Bergonzelli lets shots of her face and body smooth over the transitions from one setpiece to another. The film is gorgeously photographed throughout by Canadian film industry stalwart Rene Verzier who employs color gels and various natural filters like mesh curtains, diaphanous clothing, and steamed windows rather to keep things visually interesting (late in the film he also uses a nice transitional matte effect and a split screen optical; although a final matte effect before the closing credits isn't quite as well rendered). Debbie Davis provides the cloying theme song ("Joy, your heart is in your past, you’re searching for a love you’ve never known" and the like to very eighties French pop synths and electronic percussion).

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 27 July 1983 (France)

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DVD Review: Severin Films - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Severin Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:49:36
Video

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.57 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Severin Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• REFLECTIONS OF JOY - Interview with star Claudia Udy (16:9; 10:59)

DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Comments

Severin presents the uncut French language version with optional English subtitles (the previously available English version ran roughly 95 minutes). Having seen the shorter English version - which went direct to video and Cinemax - on a battered Greek VHS (whose harsh contrasts made hash of the low-key lit scenes), Severin's progressive, anamorphic, single-layer transfer is quite the revelation.

 

Cinematographer Rene Verzier went all out stylistically for this piece of erotica and the gelled lighting and backlit scenes are mostly well-rendered although some detail is lost to edge-enhancement but some of the long shots were likely softish in the original cinematography but the transfer overall breathes new life into what I remembered to be a dreary film. There is a 2-3 frame glitch late in the film but I noticed no other encoding/authoring errors. The French audio is in fine condition (and quite bold during the theme song). The sole extra is a lively interview with Udy (who is American not Canadian or French despite her name).

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Severin Films

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 




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