BETTY BLUE director Jean Jacques Beineix's terrifically atmospheric and vastly underrated adaptation of David Goodis' noir classic stars Gerard Depardieu as a raffish longshoreman who mourns his raped, suicided sister amongst the bars and sleazy dives of the seedy Marseilles waterfront. When mystery girl Nastassja Kinski goes slumming in his neighborhood, Depardieu is bewitched by her beauty and soon learns she may know something about the identity of his sibling's attacker. Updates writer Goodis' dark urban underworld into a color-coded dreamland of nightmarish regret and longing, yet still somehow faithfully retains the essence of the original novel. Delirious, audacious and unashamed of its breathtakingly stylized sets.
About the Director
A rabid movie fan when he was young, Jean-Jacques Beineix first studied medicine before entering the movie business. During the seventies, as an assistant director, he worked with Claude Berri, René Clément, Claude Zidi and even Jerry Lewis. But, like many assistants, Beineix' dream was to direct. His first effort was in 1977 with the short Le Chien de Monsieur Michel (Mr. Michel s Dog). A promising debut, it earned a César nomination for best short film. In 1981, he directed his first feature Diva, a stylish thriller based on a book by Delacorta. When it came out, Diva was not supported by French critics, but slowly the film gained momentum due to good word of mouth and positive reactions in various festivals like Moscow and Toronto. Ultimately, the film became a great success internationally, winning four Césars. His next film, La Lune dans le caniveau (The Moon in The Gutter), was an adaptation of a David Goodis novel, more radical than Diva in its deliberate artificiality. It premiered at Cannes in 1983. Beineix came back in 1986 with 37°2 le matin (Betty Blue), based on a Philippe Djian novel. Despite mixed reviews, the film was another international hit, won the top price at Montréal festival, and was nominated for best foreign film at both the Oscars and Golden Globes. It also earned 9 César nominations including best film and best director. In 1989, Beineix directed Roselyne et les lions (Roselyn and the Lions) (1989) followed in 1992, by IP5, which was known for being French actor Yves Montand's last role. Beineix then resurfaced where he was least expected with social documentaries. He did a film about children in Romania; one on obsession, Otaku, shot in Japan; and a piece for television on the French Elle editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a stroke that resulted in locked-In syndrome, Assigné à residence. In 2001, he returned to fiction with Mortel Transfert (Mortal Transfer), a psycho-thriller based on a Jean-Pierre Gattégno novel. In 2002, Beineix drew strong ratings with the made-for-TV documentary Loft paradoxe, an attempt to analyze the success of reality show Loft Story. With his intense focus on the power of images, Beineix paved the way for directors like Luc Besson, Leos Carax and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. A self-proclaimed misanthropist who never hid his contempt for producers and was often deemed excessive and irascible, he will go down in history as a director who raised controversy not for the subjects he tackled but for his stylistic approach. With Diva and 37°2 le matin, he directed two seminal French films of the eighties that engaged a worldwide audience. Jean-Jacques Beineix created his own production company in 1984, Cargo Films, in order to keep artistic independence. The company produces feature films and documentaries on a wide variety of themes from science to art, to women's rights to social problems. Several films have been made in partnership with national scientific organization such as CNES and CNRS. In 2006 he published the first volume of his autobiography, Les Chantiers de la gloire published in French only. This title clearly alludes to the French title of Stanley Kubrick's film, Les Sentiers de la gloire (Paths of Glory). Additionally, Beineix, is a painter, with several works available to view on his website.