If you remember fondly the gorgeous, sexy nut-job BETTY BLUE, brought to scary/sweet and hugely voluptuous life by actress Béatrice Dalle (below, right) in her first film role, you'll line up to see even more of her and her lover Zorg (played by the equally sexy Jean-Hugues Anglade, below, left) and their friends and adventures in the land of l'amour fou.
The original film, which made its debut back in 1986, lasted only two hours. The newly restored-for-theatrical-release Director's Cut lasts three. Yikes! Does that extra hour help? Is the total time spent worthwhile? Could this one of the great love stories of cinema, as some have claimed? Yes, yes, and probably not. But it's certainly up there with the great crazy love stories of all time.
As did many other foreign film buffs, my ex-wife and I rushed off to see Betty when she first hit the screen -- and two hours later wondered why. Yes, there was a lot of great sex and cinematography, nudity and drama. Oh, the drama! So much of it there was, in huge plops and chunks, that it took "camp" a step farther into cramp, but because it was chockablock with nothing but high points (or low points lows, depending on your view of what was happening), the movie seemed a non-stop climax, racing from one damn thing to the next. "Why would anyone stay with that woman," asked my ex, post-viewing. "She was a nut case." This three-hour version answers the question.
Betty Blue was Ms Dalle's first film (she can be seen more recently in the French horror/shocker Inside), and she is simply stunning: a gap-toothed girl who's ample body puts to shame the anorexic look of too many of today's would-be beauty queens. She exudes womanliness, sex and life to a degree that is nearly criminal, and she's matched body part for body part by her co-star. Wiry but muscular with a near-perfect form that's more than happy to go full-frontal at a moment's notice, Anglade is one of those performers dedicated to being "real" above all else. The result is that the pair of lovers ride roughshod over everyone and everything around them, including the cop below (played by a very young Vincent Lindon), the movie and its silly plot.
Betty Blue opened Friday, June 12, for at least a week-long run at NYC's indispensible-for-art-films Cinema Village. The NYC date will be followed by theatrical runs in other major markets including Los Angeles (July 3 at the Nuart), Minneapolis (July 24 at Landmark), Seattle (August 7 at Landmark’s Varsity), Denver (August 21 at the Starz FilmCenter) and Boston (September 11 at Landmark’s Kendall Square).