Betty Blue

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This article is about the film. For the model, see Betty Blue (model).
Betty Blue
Betty blue ver2.jpg
Simulation of the Italian-language film poster
Directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix
Produced by Jean-Jacques Beineix
Written by Jean-Jacques Beineix
Philippe Djian (novel)
Starring
Music by Gabriel Yared
Cinematography Jean-François Robin
Edited by Monique Prim
Distributed by Gaumont
Release dates
  • 7 November 1986 (1986-11-07)
Running time
120 minutes (185 minutes - Director's cut 2004)
Country France
Language French
Box office $29.2 million [1]

Betty Blue is a 1986 French film. Its original French title is 37° 2 le matin, meaning "37.2°C in the morning" (the normal temperature of a pregnant woman in the morning). The film was directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix and stars Béatrice Dalle and Jean-Hugues Anglade. It is based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Philippe Djian. The film had 3,632,326 admissions and was the eighth highest grossing film of the year in France.[2]

The film received both a BAFTA and Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1986,[3] as well as winning a César Award for Best Poster. In 1992 it was awarded the Golden Space Needle of the Seattle International Film Festival.

In 2005 a director's cut was issued, with about an hour of extra footage.

Plot[edit]

Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) is a 34-year-old aspiring writer, now making a living as a handyman for a community of beach houses at Gruissan. He meets 19 year old Betty (Béatrice Dalle), a volatile and impulsive young woman, and the two begin a passionate affair, living in his borrowed shack on the beach. After a row with him where she tears apart & smashes up the house, she finds the manuscript of his first novel, reads it in one long sitting and decides he is a genius. However, after another argument with his boss, she empties the shack and burns it down. The two decamp to the outskirts of Paris, where her friend Lisa (Consuelo de Haviland) has a small hotel. Betty laboriously types out Zorg's novel and submits it to various publishers. They meet Lisa's new boyfriend Eddy (Gérard Darmon), and the four have many fun times, often fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol. They find work in Eddy's pizzeria but a fight erupts in which Betty stabs a customer with a fork. Zorg tries to slap her back to her senses. Zorg as narrator tells us "Betty was like a wild horse who had cut her legs jumping a wall & was struggling to get up. What she thought was a sunny field was only a gloomy pen. She couldn't stand stillness. She wasn't made for it".

Though Zorg hides the rejection letters Betty finds one and, going to the publisher's house, slashes his face. Zorg induces him to drop charges by threatening him with violence, saying she is the only good thing in his life & she is all he has.

Eddy's mother dies and the friends go to the funeral in Marvejols. There, Eddy asks Zorg and Betty if they will live in the dead woman's house and look after her piano shop. Zorg enjoys the quiet provincial life and makes friends with the grocer Bob (Jacques Mathou), his sex-starved wife Annie (Clémentine Célarié) and various off-beat characters, but Betty's violent mood swings are a concern. One day, after an irritable comment from Zorg, she punches out a window with her bare hand and goes on a screaming flight through the town. Happiness seems on the horizon when a home test suggests Betty is pregnant, but a lab test is negative and she sinks into depression and tells him she is hearing voices talking to her in her head. Zorg, masquerading as a woman, robs an armoured cash collection van delivery head quarters, holding the guards at gunpoint and tying them up. He attempts to use the money to buy Betty's happiness, but she fails to respond & enacts yet another prosecutable offence by luring a small boy away from his mother & taking him to a toy store. Zorg finds her & they both flee from the authorities as they rush to rescue the boy.

One day Zorg comes home to find blood all over the place and Betty gone. Bob tells him she has gouged out an eye and is in hospital. Rushing there, Zorg finds her under heavy sedation & is told to come back the next day. Going home, he receives a phone call from a publisher accepting his manuscript. On his next visit to the hospital, he finds Betty restrained and catatonic. He becomes agitated & a doctor tells him she will need prolonged treatment and may never recover her sanity. Zorg reacts by blaming her illness on the medication being administered & physically attacks the doctor. He is forcefully ejected from the hospital after a violent struggle with three orderlies. Returning in disguise, he whispers his farewells and smothers Betty with a pillow. Going home, he sits down to start his next book.

Cast[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]