Joy et Joan (1985)

a.k.a. - Joy and Joan (USA)

Brigitte Lahaie stars in a less effective but still well made erotic sequel. Severin R1 USA.

The Film

Fashion model Joy (Brigitte Lahaie) is in a rut, she has finally settled her affections onto journalist Marc Charoux but he seems uninterested in settling down and tells her that he is jetting off to Thailand. She accepts an invitation from the wealthy Bruce and when he offers to take her anywhere she wants, she asks him to take her to Thailand. They stay with the mysterious Prince Cornélius but Joy's excitment at the trip turns into fear when Bruce starts to use her as a sex object for many other men. She flees and encounters Marc in a small village, but he abandons her and trying to flee from the persuing Prince Cornélius she hides out in a Western tour group lead by the beautiful Joan, she helps Joy flee to the Phillipines and the pair begin a relationship.

After the success of Joy (1983), producer Benjamin Simon quickly developed a follow-up. The storyline takes the lead character from the earlier film but the stories are otherwise unrelated and the unresolved ending of the first film is never referenced here. The script does start out in the style of a sequel however, dropping us straight into the character's life with no introduction to speak of, making it hard to particularly care about Joy's hardships for the first few minutes at least. In style the storyline far more closely resembles that of the Joe D'Amato Black Emanuelle series with its travelogue format, a preference for sapphic love and its relish for mistreating the female cast - a sequence in a Phillipine sex club provides the token unpleasant rape scene that seemed to be a prerequesite in Italian erotica of the era.

While Joy had been particularly enjoyable because a good narrative ran throughout, Joy et Joan never has this and often seems to idle along, particularly in the final quarter after returning to France when the storyline becomes a series of sex scenes loosely strung together and drifting along to an uninspired ending that does not seem to fit with the tone of the film at all. Even the surrealism that seemed to come so naturally to the original script is not particulatly effective here, with the stranger elements simply feeling forced. It is also a pity to see that the relatively post-feminist, powerful and fiestily independent Joy of the first film has become far more subservient to the men in the script, needing to be rescued several times and never being able to exercise the sexual control over men that she used so effectively in the first story.

The director Jacques Saurel (who has no other listed credits and might well be a pseudonym) makes good use of the Far Eastern locations and many of the sex scenes are genuinely erotic with the beautiful candle-lit ménage à trois towards the end being a real highlight. In appearance the film also more closely resembles the Black Emanuelle series and not the very 1980s feel of the original. The soundtrack is generally unobtrusive but does reuse several cheesy songs a little too often.

Former hardcore star Brigitte Lahaie takes the titular leading role here in one of her few leading roles. She does seem a little wooden in places and would have been a poor choice for the more storyline centered first film, but she is certainly easy on the eye and plays the sex scenes very well. Joan herself is an otherwise unknown Isabelle Solar who gives a strong performance while a number of little known but effective male actors play the supporting roles including Jacques Bryland who really suits the creepy Prince part.

Joy et Joan is a rather disappointing sequel to Joy, never managing to capture the effective narrative or natural surrealism that set the first film apart. Instead it heads down a more sleazy line such that with Laura Gemser in the lead role it would easily pass for one of Joe D'Amato's Black Emanuelle films. On its own merits the film is not unenjoyable - it is well directed throughout and boasts some erotic sex scenes and the attractive Brigitte Lahaie. A must see for fans of the French actress and of interest to fans of erotic cinema.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Brigitte Lahaie - a French hardcore star who later made several films for director Jean Rollin.
Directed by anyone interesting? Credited to Jacques Saurel - a director with no other known credits who might well be a pseudonym (the credited script writer Jean-Pierre Imbrohoris also has no other credits aside from some Joy sequels).
Any gore or violence? None
Any sex or nudity? Frequent female topless and nude scenes, some male nude scenes (softcore) in the grotto sequence. Various sex scenes, straight and lesbian. The grotto sequence includes a rather forcible sex sequence although it is quite brief.
Who is it for? Certainly of interest to fans of erotic cinema and a must see for Lahaie collectors.

See Also:
Joy (1983) The original film boasts a much more compelling storyline and some wonderful surrealism.
Black Emanuelle Series (1975-78)
Laura Gemser stars in this multi-film spin off from the Emmanuelle films as a globe trotting reporter, a series from which Joy et Joan seems to borrow heavily.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour
The print is impressive with strong colours and detail.
Audio French mono track, sounds good.
Subtitles English, translate the French throughout - error free.
Extras None.
Region Region 1 (USA, North America) - NTSC
Other regions? Not otherwise available on English friendly DVD.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. The print used is French language.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 5th November 2010 - part of 'Naughty November'.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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