Betty Blue Blu-Ray review
What’s It About? Handyman Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) mainly spends his time painting beach-front chalets, making chilli and dreaming of becoming a writer. Yet the arrival of Betty (Beatrice Dalle), a beautiful but volatile woman, turns his life upside down. As their intense relationship increases, so too does Betty’s violent and self-destructive nature as Zorg tries to halt her slide into insanity
Verdict: Director Jean-Jacques Beineix really took the bull by the horns when making Betty Blue; nothing is left to the imagination as we are treated to a visual feast of highly eroticised emotions & actions within the first 30 minutes. It’s a bold move by the director to open the film with one of the most intense and passionate love making sessions captured on mainstream film, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film. Not only does the film cut an impressive treatment of sex but it also has immense amounts of beautiful cinematography that echoes the atmosphere in the film. There are wide landscape shots of the beach huts tinged with a brown orange glow set against the weather, pointing to Betty’s upbeat moods. These then compare that with dark melancholic greens and blues of the apartment they live in and how they affect her mindset.
The interplay between Dalle and Anglade is one of the most sexually charged ever committed to film. The ability to bounce of each other absconds the regular sexual chemistry and instead delves deeper into the subconscious as they both start to become one, yet as Betty’s mind starts to slip so too does their connection. Zorg, at first the sexy local boy, evolves into an adult that he never wanted to become and yet has to. But this film is left to Beatrice Dalle to take every single plaudit, it’s her ability to slip from one emotion to another in the blink of an eye that proves her level of talent which could handle this self-destructive nature at such an early acting age. Dalle ramps up the sex until breathless and intoxicated, and she looks at ease with the aggressive nature and nudity that Betty believes is her expressive nature.
Extras: There are two options for the film, the original theatrical version or the director’s cut. The director’s cut runs at a little over an hour longer than the theatrical version and is really the only version to watch as it gives more time for certain elements of the storyline to come into the overall picture. There is an hour-long Making Of documentary that includes new interviews with the director, producer and the two main stars. Director Beineix is engaging and talks through every aspect of making the film, Anglade looks back at it fondly and doesn’t seem to have aged too much either. But it’s Dalle who relates some great tales but also some bizarre comments, such as the fact that she doesn’t read scripts as she feels it will all come through the director’s soul. Additionally there are Dalle’s screen tests, in which she just about nails the character from the first moment.
Final Words: Betty Blue is a work of highest calibre from all involved, its examination of the sexual desires of one woman who struggles with mental health issues is meaningful and maybe more relevant nowadays than when it was made. This modern day Romeo & Juliet is an iconic French film that oozes passion.
Betty Blue is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 25 November 2013.