The Joy of Life (2005)



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Movie Info

The sixty-five minute, avant-garde experimental film Joy of Life opens as a feature on the day-to-day experiences of a militant lesbian in the San Francisco Bay area, and her bittersweet, occasionally heartbreaking search for love and lust. It then uses these themes as a springboard, segueing, free-form, into a documentary exploration of lesbian sexuality, Frank Capra's 1941 classic Meet John Doe, and the history of the Golden Gate Bridge as a point of departure for suicides. In voice-over, Lawrence Ferlinghetti delivers his poetic elegy to Frisco, City of Light, while the late Weldon Kees (rumored as a Golden Gate jumper) composed the music used in the film. Writer-director Jenni Olson authored this picture, which premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and received high praise from The San Francisco Examiner and The Village Voice.

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Critic Reviews for The Joy of Life

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4)

Another perfect film with a masterful screenplay

Sep 17, 2018 | Full Review…

The result is gently hypnotic.

Nov 7, 2014 | Full Review…

The Olson/Dodge text has the purplish, overwritten quality of a first year writing student's exercises, but pic's investigation into the bridge's tainted iconography is lucid and precise.

Feb 23, 2012 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Once in a while a smart artist has an idea for a project that, when explained, sounds pretty boring. But in the viewing, it's actually quite intoxicating.

Nov 24, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The Joy of Life is an experimental film with an experiment that works.

Nov 7, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/5

The Joy of Life is a cinematic love poem of sorts, just semirequited, as most things involving love are.

Nov 7, 2014 | Full Review…

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