5. Betty Blue. A sexy tour de force of french cinema. Released in 1986 and Directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix and starring Jean-Hugues Anglade and the beautiful and infamous Béatrice Dalle. This is one of those films that really gets under your skin. It’s an intimate and raw character study of a doomed relationship between a sensitive down on his luck creative and a wild and passionate yet disturbed femme fatale.
This is a classic co-dependant relationship that has destruction written all over it from the very start. 30 year old Zorg has already given up on his dreams of becoming a novelist when he meets the decade younger Betty who discovers his dwindled passion and becomes obsessed with reinstating him as a working artist. As their journey together progresses Zorg begins to lose himself in Betty’s deteriorating sanity as she slowly unravels and spirals out of control.
This is a tragic tale of passionate and devoted souls caught in a storm of uncertainty, set adrift in the banality of everyday life. When the difficulties of coping with a burgeoning mental illness threaten to destroy their world, love is their only guide.
This combination of artist and champion looks like a great match in the beginning, the sexual chemistry is off the charts and they both share an undaunted openness and intimacy. But, it’s only a matter of time before this dynamic will shift as both types will be tested and begin to pull in opposite directions vying for control. Its more likely that the volatile personality will prevail leaving the more empathic type as caretaker for the relationship.
As this roller coaster ride begins to lose traction with the track we see how their entanglement seals the fate of each other.
The cinematography in this film is elegant and charming with a pace that is gradual allowing scenes to breathe and flourish. In contrast to many modern films this is a slow burn, especially if you are watching the newly released 185-minute director’s cut, which I highly recommend.
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