Portrait Of Love
by Brody Rossiter
As one of the most visually attractive and striking films you will likely ever stumble across, there is no doubt that Jean-Jacques Beineix’s Betty Blue (1986) is more than deserving of a retrospective Blu-ray release. Including the original two-hour cinematic release, the extended three-hour-long director’s cut, and a wealth of bonus materials, this lovingly produced package provides hours of stunning cinema in which to lose yourself and discover the true aesthetically driven nature of the ‘Cinéma du look’ movement.
The movement, attributed to directors such as Luc Besson, Leos Carax, and Beineix himself, drew its highly stylised inspiration from fashion, music television, and commercials – as exhibited by the characters’ many references to ad campaigns and movies throughout the film. Categorised as a form of cinema which placed a distinct emphasis upon style over substance throughout its meshing of art-house high-culture and flashy 80’s pop culture, ‘Cinéma du look’ films such as Betty Blue were often dismissed as one-dimensional due to their intoxicating, and overtly sexualised visuals. Today, the film’s dreamlike narrative is perhaps more potent than ever. The lack of a distinct plot in favour of a clear emphasis upon its characters and their heightened emotions coalesces perfectly with much of today’s most successful and popular indie cinema and melodrama – situating the film as a true precursor to such pictures as Blue is the Warmest Color and Upstream Color.
Starring Jean Hughes-Anglade alongside the unmistakable Beatrice Dalle, Betty Blue is a tale of intense passion, artistic toil, and emotional decline. It traverses sun-kissed beach-front chalets, vibrant Parisian back streets, and ancient moonlit French architecture – all whilst exhibiting the titular Betty’s violent struggle with mental illness and her lover, Zorg. Both Anglade and Dalle turn in compelling performances that rub off upon the many characters they discover upon their travels. Friendships, love-triangles, and enemies are all established, creating many comic, erotic, and deeply affecting moments – whilst also proving that a lack of the aforementioned substance is never a concern. Beautiful, beguiling, and a joy to discover, Betty Blue should be a top priority to fans of world and romantic cinema. Lose yourself in this vision of blue.
Betty Blue is available on DVD & Blu-ray now courtesy of Second Sight, order your copy here.