Betty Blue - The Director's Cut
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-Francois Robin is enhanced by a perfectly understated score by Gabriel Yared and a signature haunting piano melody.
Betty Blue: The Director's Cut features an additional hour of footage from the version shown previously in US theaters. The characters of Zorg and Betty are more fully realized, with the leads' performances and the voluptuous, early days of their relationship fleshed out in more detail. Betty's crossover from obsessive passion to full-on emotional breakdown is more fully depicted and this version gives more screen time to the secondary characters who add a sense celebration and wild abandon with plenty of extremely funny moments along the way. A darker and even more memorable ride.