Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

The Joy of Life 2005

Directed by Jenni Olson

The beauty of San Francisco imbues every frame of Jenni Olson’s compelling hybrid of city symphony, personal lament and political activism against suicide.

USA In English
65 minutes Beta-SP

Director, Screenplay


Sophia Constantinou


Marc Henrich


Kadet Kuhne


Weldon Kees


Harriet ‘Harry’ Dodge
Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Sundance, San Francisco, Vancouver 2005


‘There are times when you notice things, when you’re acutely aware of the world around you, like after someone dies, or sometimes coming out of a movie,’ says the narrator of director Jenni Olson’s strange, compelling hybrid of city symphony, personal lament and political activism. The things that are noticed with such heightened perception are the streets of San Francisco, and no one who ever fell under the spell of that city could fail to be transported back by the arresting details so lyrically photographed here. The lament is a noir-styled narration, self-lacerating in its bluntness, recalling lost loves and unrequited ‘bull dyke’ lusts. The activism comes in the sustained case made against the city’s refusal to erect suicide barriers on the Golden Gate Bridge, which since its opening in 1937 has attracted more than 1,300 jumpers.

“If suicide is the ultimate act of aloneness, and usually a cry of protest against it, this beautiful film wants to be sure those cries never go unheard.” — Dennis Harvey, San Francisco Bay Guardian