Betty Blue is quintessential French cinema material, an uninhibited and tumultuous story of an obsessive relationship that descends into madness. When it premiered in 1986, the film gained notoriety for its full-frontal nudity and explicit sex. With audience members questioning if the sex scenes were simulated or not, the word-of-mouth buzz helped drive it to box-office success. Based on a novel by Philippe Djian, it has become a cult classic for its mercurial characters, bohemian sexuality and descent into ‘amour fou. Betty Blue: The Director’s Cut, never screened in US theatres, features an additional hour of footage.
It begins at the seashore, where handyman Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) and the effervescent Betty (Béatrice Dalle) are in the throes of a passionate one-week affair. Betty, a free-spirit whose sense of abandon tips over into the manic, moves into Zorg’s rundown beach shack at a decaying seaside resort and promptly creates a bit of havoc with his employer. Zorg is content to spend his days painting beach shacks, drinking Tequila and fondling Betty’s bottom until she becomes fed up with their inert situation and while throwing a tantrum and tossing Zorg’s possessions, she discovers his manuscript and decides it must be published. Betty then calmly burns down their place, and the two go into Paris to live with her friend Lisa (Consuelo De Haviland) and her lover. While Betty types up Zorg’s writings, the two live passionately in love and share their joie-de-vivre with their friends, but Betty’s ups start to come down with increasing ferocity.
After an altercation, the two lovers decamp from Paris to the South of France and find themselves embroiled in spirited adventures, with Betty’s mental state held in check for a time. Things seem to be heading towards some normalcy when Betty discovers she may be pregnant. When the test results arrive, it sends Betty into a dark, destructive depression and Zorg to desperate measures.
A mesmerizing debut by Dalle, who was discovered on a magazine cover by Beineix, has left a generation of men (and perhaps women) fantasizing over crazy love. Anglade’s performance as a man who will go to the end of the earth for his love is heroic. The lush cinematography by Jean-François Robin is enhanced by a perfectly understated score by Gabriel Yared and a signature haunting piano melody.
Jean-Jacques Beineix (born October 8, 1946) is a French film director.
In 1964, Jean-Jacques Beineix started his career as Jean Becker’s assistant director on the famous French TV series, Les saintes chéries until the end of 1967. Then, in 1970 he worked for Claude Berri and in 1971 for Claude Zidi. In 1977, he directed his first short movie Le chien de M. Michel which won the first prize at the Trouville Festival. In 1980, he directed his first feature film Diva which received four César Award in 1982 followed by Moon in the Gutter. This movie was nominated at Cannes Festival in 1983. In 1986, Jean-Jacques Beineix directed Betty Blue (37°2 le matin) with Béatrice Dalle and Jean-Hugues Anglade. This film was nominated to the best foreign movie Oscar. He directed Roselyne et les lions in 1989, IP5: L’île aux pachydermes in 1992 and Mortel transfert in 2001. In Fall 2006 he published the first volume… read more
Minus the gorgeous scene when the cat enters as Zorg writes I felt this film was lacking something. It's stench of heat, sex and noire at first moved me but over time it began to sour, it became tacky. It is beautifully shot but underneath this stylish veneer is a film with serious pacing problems. Understandably it was butchered in the editing room, but the longer version crawls. 3/5.
This has almost everything I love about movies. Uninhabited, slow decent into madness, a dash of Zulawskian food orgy, beautiful imagery, tasty atmosphere ridden with sex, boundless performance, characters that are built out of ideals than rationality. Can't really say anything about it. One of the better movies I've seen!