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Betty Blue [372 le Matin] (1986)

I thought I’d seen “Betty Blue” before. The title seemed vaguely familiar to me. So, for years I avoided the movie, convinced by the pouting girl on its cover that I’d seen it already. A standard piece of Hollywood dross, I told myself. Not even realising that the film was French and subtitled. But once the story started and threw us into the mix with its languid photography and that long, sweaty, obsessive sex scene that introduces the director’s cut, I was hooked.

Betty Blue (Director’s Cut)

Every frame after that skilful opening scene seemed crafted by the hand of a master painter. Within only a few minutes, I was grinning like an idiot and dripping with envy at the luck of some men. Nudity doesn’t bother me as it seems to trouble so many other people. In fact, it was refreshing to see scenes that were not artificially cropped to appease the censors and avoid the naked form.

Three hours of great writing, fine cinematography, and some exceptional acting later, I had rarely seen a modern film so beautifully crafted. Or two central performances as honest, robust, and unselfconscious as these. It seems as if beauty, obsession, and madness do make delightful bedfellows. At least, in this touching and unconventional love story directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix and starring Beatrice Dalle (Betty Blue) and Jean-Hugues Anglade (Zorg).

Betty Blue

Betty Blue: Object of Desire in that striking pouting cover image.

Would I watch “Betty Blue” again? Gladly, and I don’t say that about films very often. Five stars!

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