Re-VISITING BETTY BLUE

…or 37°2 IN THE MORNING. I can still remember the morning I decided to skip school, drive to Houston and sit alone in a cinema to watch this most (at the time) controversial erotic film! I was so excited and I was not yet 20. I remember it being so good. Loved the music. And, was almost in love with Jean-Hugues Anglade! He was so hot and so very French! …And, at that time, I had only ever seen a hand full of films that actually showed a penis on screen! His was just all over the place! And, I thought that Beatrice Dalle was the most beautiful woman I had seen since Catherine Deneuve. Of course, back in 1986 I had seen the 2 hour version. A couple of years back the official director’s cut was issued on DVD — screening in at 185 minutes! Well, the other night I watched Jean-Jacques Beineix’s director’s cut in full.

A lot changes in 20 plus years. My memory of BETTY BLUE did not all together match up with reality. Part of the problem is that I was 19 when I last saw it. I had such little healthy experience when it came to sexuality and none when it came to relationships and the world. Of course, I also found that I wasn’t sure what was new to the film and was originally in it.I had even forgotten that the man of Betty’s dreams was a closet writer. A writer who is more than a little blocked.

One concept that jumped out at me was illustrated in a scene involving Betty and Zorg tearing down a wall to open up the space in a room. As Zorg beats the wall to submission in his sexy shirt he poses seductively with the sledge hammer and asks Betty if he looks like a demolition man. She tells him that he simply looks like a writer working on a new novel:

Zorg: “I don’t see what writing has to do with demolition.”

Betty: “I’m not surprised.” First, I must comment on the two lead actors. Jean-Huges remains as hot on that screen as he did in 1986! And, the same goes for Beatrice Dalle. …almost. B made an interesting comment on Beatrice Dalle as Betty:

“Man, that woman has some crazy-ass teeth!”

…In deed, she did and still has them. …Only more so. Beatrice Dalle still has a kick ass body. And upon doing a google and an imdb.com search I discovered that she and I are the same age. And, that poor Beatrice seems to have turned out to be as disturbed as her most famous character, Betty. Actually, Beatrice seems rather scary, dangerous and bad to know. Apparently, she fought thru a number of drug addictions and just recently married an inmate here in California. ? She still shows up in strange art house movies. Now, Jean-Hugues remains hot. How, at 52, does he still look so good?!?!? It isn’t fair, really. Unlike Beatrice, Jean-Hugues has had a fairly stable working/life going down for the last 20 years. He even works in the bad Hollywood film now and then. However, he never lived up to the glory that was expected after his turn in BETTY BLUE.

Actually, the film is quite good. Tho, far too long in the director’s version. And, it remains an incredibly erotic film which is fairly equal in opportunity for both male and female viewers. Well, as equal as non-porn ever gets. And, there is a tenderness to the graphic sex that one seldom sees in movies. The two have real chemistry and their obsessive love is somehow believable.

What struck me was how very much I simply missed as a 19 year old Texas boy watching this movie in Houston. From a scene early in the film it is clear that Betty has some serious mental issues — as does Zorg’s love for Betty and his odd admiration for her “spirit” —- Instead of actually helping Betty, Zorg almost enables her to fall deeper into the sort of madness from which a person is usually unable to return. You see it as you watch. I missed that.

And, there is this odd side plot — which I do remember — of Zorg cross-dressing to aide Betty and ultimately “save” her. We’re talking about the robbing of banks with homo-erotic undertones and murder. None of that really struck me as odd.

In 1986 I found BETTY BLUE to be deliciously lush, erotic, romantic and beautifully tragic. Now, in 2008, I find BETTY BLUE to be erotic, obsessively/neurotically romantic, silly and disturbing. It is an effective movie that currently runs about 40 minutes too long. There is an obnoxious subplot involving a grocer’s under-sex’d wife. Tho, under the current and past her huge boobs, one can see a sort of theme of sad desperation.

One thing is sure — the film captures that heady, erotic and scary desire that love and passion tends to ignite when love first starts to flower. Like Zorg, I love Betty — but his resolve is more than I can fathom. …Which probably means that there is more going on there than I can fully understand. The main problem or issue I have with this film is the twisted eroticism of insanity. There is nothing romantic about it. H

…But, as the credits rolled I got the feeling that much of my issue is more about my own projection. BETTY BLUE is not romantic.

It is tragic.

And, I was listening to my vinyl soundtrack to MARY POPPINS.
This is not the cover of that LP, but I really like this picture and wanted to use it!

Betty is blue …with crazy-ass teeth.

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February 1, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized.

12 Comments

  1. ginab replied:

    Someone needs to pay you for this work! Brought back so much for me, alone (I’m sure), in a London cinema. So turned I was (with the exception that I didn’t understand her going mad), I can hardly speak here.

    Too bad Beatrice became addicted to drugs (and probably to sex, given mister handsome penis). My own Beatrice’s teeth are tiny and some erased. It’s how a vet can tell the probable age of an animal. So, good on Dalle for her own staying put.

    PS if I’ve replied twice, it’s to do with a silly wordpress glitch. Teeth or no teeth.

  2. ing replied:

    Hey, hi, ho there! You know what I already said about Betty Blue; loved it when it first came out, then it changed for me. I’m not so sure I understand the gentleman’s resolve, either. Twisted and erotic are not nearly the same thing for me.

    Ahhhh, so deliciously worn out today. About to crash. I hope you sleep well tonight, and the next night, and the next. I’m coming over on Sunday.

    I adore you, my friend.

  3. johnmichael replied:

    I’m not very hot now, so I can’t imagine that at 52 I will be hot.
    I want to watch this movie.

  4. matty03 replied:

    Gina! Oh, how cool to have watched it in a London cinema. Funny, maybe we were watching it alone at about the same time — you in London — and, me in Houston.

    And, yeah, you’re right. It is cool she has held on to something from the past that is such a part of how she is. Still, the way she poses sometimes — it is as if she aims to scare me.

  5. matty03 replied:

    Ing! I think I might have a better understanding of his resolve now, but still find it hard to watch or accept. But, then, I’m not so sure these are literal characters or shadows of human emotions running too high, too hot and far too early in the morning.

    I adore you, too.

    Sleep failed to find me last night. I’m about to walk about like a zombie. But, I think I am well dressed.

    We shall see you on Sunday! And, I expect a full report!

  6. matty03 replied:

    johnmichael! Oh, please do not cut yourself down! We are not good judges of our own looks! I’m sure you’re quite hot! And, will be a very good looking 52!!!!

    Yes, you should see the movie! I’d be curious to know what you thought of it.

    …Be kind to yourself!

  7. ing replied:

    Matty, this is off-topic, but have you ever seen a movie called Metropolitan? Send me an email! Oh, and there’s a new film playing at the SF indie film fest called Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation & this kind of thing is right up MY alley!! What’s your opinion?

  8. matty03 replied:

    Ing! Yes, I saw it when it came out. Walt Stilman? sp? I remember noticing Parker Posey. I don’t think I cared much for it, but I’d be hard-pressed to tell you why. Seems like that came out when I still lived in Texas. 1989/1990?

    LOL! That looks funny!

    I worry, tho. I’ve never seen RAIDER OF THE LOST ARK. …I did pay to see it, but we didn’t stay. I think we snuck out back and did bad non-child-like things.

    Will I get the joke? I bet Byron would love it!

  9. hot-lunch replied:

    i want that umbrella that Mary Poppins is holding.

  10. matty03 replied:

    Hot Lunch! I know. Trust me, we all want that umbrella that Mary Poppins is holding. …I mean, she is practically perfect in every way!!! …and it talks to her!

  11. ginab replied:

    she looks like Marylin Manson, lately.

  12. matty03 replied:

    Gina, Yeah. It is an odd sort of look she has evolved into. I don’t think one would want to mess with her. lol!

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