Joy de V.

Director Statement

I wrote JOY de V. while living in Paris. I was homesick for New York. At the time I was developing another story, when the actress came and told me that she couldn’t be in the film because she just discovered she was pregnant. That project was getting ensnared by the wrong people around the same time, so I told her, “Nevermind! I’ll write something new for a pregnant woman!” Needless to say, the baby was born before we even began pre-production, but it got me to write the script quick and probably even had a hand in originating the idea. Claudia Cardinale was my neighbor in Paris, and I sent her the script. She responded immediately, said she loved it, let’s do it.

I wrote the lead for Evan Louison, and we developed his character back in New York through a weekly scene workshop I used to hold in my kitchen called Palazzo Xhupame. The others in the film are a mix of professional stage actors and local New York characters I’m friends with from when I lived in Staten Island. New York is changing fast- neighborhoods appropriated by the white flight back in from the suburbs, and the various mayors' crypto-fascism. Only in the outer boroughs is it still old New York. This is the New York I love. Everyone has a scheme or a scam. And people can actually still tell a story. It is a bittersweet love though. The values of much of old Italianamerican New York (calcified circa 1880’s Palermo) are at serious odds with freedoms gained since. Though I can’t begrudge it too much- it did pose itself as a serious opponent to sharpen my arsenal against.

I guess all filmmakers feel they’re lucky and that they work with the baddest mothers in town. JOY de V. was made up of the talents and labor of some serious fiends of cinema. For instance, Tristan Allen, the DP, cares deeply and foremost about the emotions of the characters. He’s a classical student of light and the masters, so the film’s look was a result of style born out of content, not the other way around. Aesthetics was never the goal, merely the result of personal craft. The music was culled from a wide net of sources- some composed for the film, others archival, and yet others new music made by my contemporaries. Some of the music in the film sounds more like sound design and some of the sound design more like music. In creating the score, I asked the fiercest drummer I knew Noah Plotkin to come into the studio and improvise to the picture. This gave the film a dry, raw energy that picks up on the harsh, cold shoulder of a city that, as Gil-Scott Heron sings, “is killing me.”

At the end of the day, JOY de V. is a love song to New York. Its subject is love and its discontents. And as Rosalind counseled back in the day, "Love is merely a madness and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do, and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love, too."

-Nadia Szold

Joy de V.

Artist Statement

Hell is not knowing. Uncertainty is exponentially worse than knowing something terrible has happened, yet knowing it for sure and having your worst fears put to rest. Uncertainty, or more specifically, an unexplained disappearance of a loved one will torment and quite possibly drive you to the badland borders of madness.

Joy gets the urge for going. It's an irrational urge because it's not born from concrete conflict, but from the sudden unveiling of a malaise that has fallen over her new marriage. Joy is introduced in the first 30 seconds of the film, only to be taken away from the viewer, never to be seen again until the end. But the film is not about disappearance. Its subject is not the romantic and reckless idea of stepping off the face of the earth with nothing, no wallet, no phone, just a young woman on her own, ultimately free. No, that's Joy's story and another film entirely. "Joy de V." is about what it is she leaves in her wake-- a void that turns into a whirlwind of chaos.

,I set out to track the anxiety of not knowing. Waiting even for an hour for your beloved at an appointed time, the mind goes to a thousand different places. Your mood swings radically at the vertigo of possibilities. This mounting unease set against the backdrop of the five boroughs and peopled by the shady denizens of this hustler's city was my starting point. The stages of this type of anxiety stretched out over a period of four days was what intrigued me. How can one go from paranoia to reproach to guilt to hopelessness in the drop of a hat?

,Our protagonist's shifting states are reflected by his interaction with others in this dark Bildungsroman. Roman is flung like a pinball from one encounter to the next, navigating the wills and desires of those who block his path and those who wish to guide him.

,At the onset of the film, Roman receives notice that, due to good progress reports, his mental disability checks are in peril of becoming a thing of the past. This scam, though modest, provides a steady source of income. Roman immediately feels the pressure to perform a public act of lunacy that will, through witnesses, assure the continuation of these checks. Yet, as the hours run into days and Joy is still missing, Roman forgets his need to perform insanity, while consequently, his true sanity is put to the test.

-Nadia Szold, NYC, 11/11/11

Evan Louison

Iva Gocheva

Claudia Cardinale

Evan Louison

Evan Louison

Evan Louison

Evan Louison - Josephine de La Baume

Maia Ibar

Evan Louison

Biagio Pergolizzi - Evan Louison - Robbie Ross

Maia Ibar - Evan Louison

Victoria Imperioli

Biagio Pergolizzi - Robbie Ross

Nadia Szold - Tristan Allen - Evan Louison

Tristan Allen

Nadia Szold - Claudia Cardinale

Slamdance 2013 Recap

Director Nadia Szold has a way of making everyday New York look cinematic. These aren't the slick streets and highly production designed locations of Hollywood movies." read more....

Joy De V. Review

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. read more....


Special Mention: JOY DE V., by Nadia Szold. "Filled with humor, flawless characters and performances and a highly developed visual style, 'Joy de V' is a film that signals the arrival of a powerful new filmmaking talent." read more....

Man In The Maze Of Woman

Nadia Szold's feature debut Joy de V. charts the speed of dreams; the layers and shapes, patterns and cadence of a fever dream. Of a man met with madness that may be of his own doing, by the flick of his lighter's flame, or that of the forces beyond him, out to get him, out to find him, and to leave him. read more....

Slamdance 2013 Review: JOY DE V. - Bright Lights, Big City & The Lost Soul

Nadia Szold's feature debut Joy de V. charts the speed of dreams; the layers and shapes, patterns and cadence of a fever dream. Of a man met with madness that may be of his own doing, by the flick of his lighter's flame, or that of the forces beyond him, out to get him, out to find him, and to leave him. read more....


Directly following a week of Sundance announcements, the Slamdance Film Festival, which takes place in Park City between January 18 to 24, has revealed its competition lineup. The narrative competition features films from five different countries - including, interestingly, three from Germany - and the film that I will definitely try to catch from that strand is Nadia Szold's Joy de V., which stars both Evan Louison (the lead in Filmmaker contributor Brandon Harris' feature debut Redlegs) and the legendary Claudia Cardinale.

Five Questions for Joy de V. Writer/Director Nadia Szold

read more....

Seymour Magazine: Interview with Nadia Szold

I remember really very, very clearly the moment. I'd been directing theatre since I was seventeen years old and I really only did that because of the fact that they were no interesting plays being produced at my high school, and when I read Waiting for Godot, I needed to see it put on. So it was not a desire really to direct but a desire to see the play, and the easiest way was to do it. read more....