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Review: Betty Blue, The Director's Cut

Well-remembered arthouse film gains an extra hour
By BRETT MICHEL  |  September 9, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars

 

"I had known Betty for a week," a voiceover intones. The voice is that of Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade), an unpublished novelist, whom we see fucking Betty (Béatrice Dalle in a star-making turn) in the slow zoom that serves as the opening shot of Jean-Jacques Beineix's well-remembered (by horny young men — and likely a few women — who frequented arthouses back in 1986) contribution to erotic cinema, a film that was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, despite charges of misogyny.

"We screwed every night," Zorg continues, his voice almost drowned out by Betty's screams as the camera draws closer to the sweaty couple. Then his ominous conclusion: "The forecast was for storms."

Thus begins Betty's descent into madness, now given room to develop more naturally in Beineix's polished-up version of his rough cut. This version runs more than an hour longer than the original, leaving Zorg's cross-dressing crime capers feeling more out of place than ever.

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