The Jean-Jacques Beineix Collection: Betty Blue
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A shocking and offbeat story of two French lovers, Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) and Betty (Beatrice Dalle), who fall into a deeply erotic and all-encompassing relationship. Zorg is a simple repairman in his mid-thirties who lives a relatively dull life in a remote, weathered shack until he meets Betty, a sexy, mercurial younger woman who challenges his way of thinking and forces him to change his life. When Betty and Zorg are not having wild and uninhibited sex (and joyously traipsing around naked), Zorg is writing his novel, an unpublished masterwork that Betty discovers and vehemently champions. Betty, prone to violent fits of passionate rage, attacks Zorg's boss and burns their shack down, leaving Zorg no choice but to join her on a series of spirited adventures. They move in with Betty's best friend and her boyfriend and for a brief time live a happy bohemian lifestyle, wild and crazy in love. But as the film progresses, Betty's mental illness becomes more apparent, she lives in a fitful manic world of passionate highs and lows while Zorg desperately attempts to coddle and comfort her. Finally, the lovers start over in a dreamy rural town, hoping to live a normal life, but Betty's fantasy world encroaches on her reality as she slowly spirals out of control in this intense story of love and lust, based on the novel by Philippe Djian.
About the Director
Jean-Jacques Beineix started as an assistant director in France, before he directed his first short film. In 1981, he directed his first feature, Diva, a stylish thriller that became a word-of-mouth sensation eventually winning four Césars. He followed that with The Moon in the Gutter in 1983. Five years later, Betty Blue became an international cult sensation and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at both the Oscars and Golden Globes, and earned 9 César nominations. In the 90 s, Beineix turned towards more socially conscious subjects, directing two documentaries as well as taking up the paintbrush. He returned to feature filmmaking in 1992 with IP5, which was the last film for renowned actor, Yves Montand and also stars Olivier Martinez (Unfaithful, S.W.A.T.). Unlike many filmmakers, Beineix has kept the rights to his films while continuing to produce and direct films through his Paris-based company, Cargo Films.
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Top customer reviews
Character of Dalle as Betty still holds, Femme Fatale Woman-Child who is lost, mercifully found and ultimately lost living out the trajectory of a fateful life. Symptoms bear likeness to a Borderline Personality rather than the viewer speculations of Bipolar Disorder Schizophrenia or the catch-all of "insanity". From a character perspective what was more poignant to me in this second viewing is the character of her lover, Zorg, Betty's lover (played with adept beautyby Anglade). At Betty's obsession with trying to get his novel published to an indifferent world, he takes alternative routes when it is u accepted. He attempts "publish" it with new scenery to call home, a possible baby, stolen money- all to save her from herself. The most poignant scene for me is after Betty finds she is not pregnant, no child, no new life within. She sits hair chopped, bright lipstick drawn and smudged, face powdered like a tragic clown. The viewer feels like a voyeur watching Zorg watch her. He drinks in the scene slowly and fully, finally doing the most selfless thing he can think to do. He slowly and absolutely pours brightly colored thick soup through his hair and face, her clown face matching his as he breaks himself to counter her alienation. The arc of the film leads the viewer to see the last scene between the two as the ultimate gift a lover can give such a circumstances. Zorg arrives at a hospital to see Betty after she has plucked out an eye, unable to handle seeing through two any longer into a world that shines brighter and burns hotter than what most see. When the nurse asks if he is her husband or relative he answers, "No, I am everything else." As she lie in a hospital deemed insane by doctors, he realizes that he can no longer save her but that, "nothing can tear them apart". He straps her tightly within the straightjacket binding her and smothers with her pillow. Her final kicks of resistance seem a courageous last effort to counter the forces she has struggled to survive through life.
Regardless of liking the film or not, recurrent piano melody with inevitably haunt anyone who has watched. Within the first few familiar notes a sirens call emerges drawing one to continue watching even if wishing to stop. It lulls one into their blue ocean; slightly off kilter notes feel like a sailboats choppy clip through a breezy waters as seductive as Betty is at the films opening when she shamelessly inserts herself into Zorgs world.
Jean-Jacques Bieniex direction is classic cinéma du luc which dominated French film-making of the 1980's. For those who wish to see sweeping non-naturalistic photography of a beautiful era in France which harbors these two gorgeously developed lost souls then watch!!!
The film was nominated for a BAFTA and Best Foreign Laungauge Oscar in 1986.
It is well worth languishing in its three-hour run time and, as for me 25 years later, it won't be forgotten.