horror and science fiction DVD and movie reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
Blu-ray reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
DVD reviews, previews and info - blu-ray
  action movies on DVD
  animation on DVD
  art house and international / foreign language films on DVD
  comedies on DVD
  documentaries on DVD
  dramas on DVD
  children's and family DVDs
  horror and sci-fi on DVD
  suspense on DVD
  television series on DVD
  Blu-ray DVD reviews


Betty Blue: The Original Theatrical Release - Blu-ray / drama DVD / arthouse and international DVD / foreign language DVD review
BETTY BLUE: THE ORIGINAL THEATRICAL RELEASE Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Featuring: Jean-Hugues Anglade, Beatrice Dalle, Consuelo de Haviland, Gerard Darmon, Clementine Celarie
Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix Studio: Cinema Libre
DVD release: 26 April 2011 Runtime: 116 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD features: 1080i, Aspect ratio (1.67:1), Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0 - French), Subtitles (English), Director interview

*Betty Blue* Betty Blue is still the contemporary, funny, tragic, and edgily Shakespearian film it has always been. Since its original theatrical release in 1986, the film has appeared in two forms: the theatrical cut (as here) and the director's or extended cut. If you haven't seen one or both, drop everything and hie thee to a media center. You may be well lacking in a critical trans-generational document attesting to the power of love.

For those who are returnees, first, then, the DVD review. There's nothing new here. Heavy sigh. There's a wide consensus that the image transfer in this Blu-ray version is only marginally superior to the SD version from the 1990s; the audio quality is highly decent but not the crystalline entity some have been hoping for (it's compressed Dolby). More, other than an interview with the director, there are no extras to speak of. Why didn't Cinema Libre at least include the extended cut on this high-capacity-format disc? Net result of this analysis is minus a half-star's for unnecessary teeth-grinding.

This disc is nevertheless worth the price of admission: the image is great (if, as the reviewer on blu-ray.com points out, not very filmic), the music is hard to beat (we are talking a classic sound track by Gabriel Yared here; most viewers simply float away on the music and their own private amygdala upon first viewing), the subtitles are truly legible and the translation is (still) great.

And, after five or six viewings, Betty Blue is still a tear-jerker that comes with an emotional sturm und drang that leaves me listless, pacing, laughing a bit madly, ruminating, and making life decisions as if I were still twenty-something--for up to several weeks now. This mutha packs a bardic punch, precisely why it has a tenacious cult: here's a movie that tells the truth, however vampiric or cannibalistic. You know, like one of them wise-guy plays. Reality bites, the truth hurts, while tempestuous life sucks blood, memory, and attention span -- if not nearly enough calories.

Lovely Betty (Béatrice Dalle) is disintegrating. Smart, intoxicatingly attentive, funny, quirky, and gravitationally powerful in her desire to be naked, Betty is rapidly losing her mind. She lives with Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade), the perfect foil and her protector nonpareil - except that he cannot protect her, heal her, nor envelop her and keep her from harm. Her impetus is too great: she is an irresistible force and he is merely a better man; Zorg in no way, to my eye, represents the implacable, the immovable. Time and again he is buffeted, battered aside. His every envelop is by her pushed, punctured, exploded. Betty comes to abide with Zorg, a fixit guy on the coast of southern France. They soon exit right, running hand in hand, their cottage-on-stilts deserted in flames behind them in an unforgettable image inspired by Betty's madness.

Betty Blue's narrative course is a zigzag, a seesaw; heart-breaking. Hear me: the film's trajectory is in the end redemptive so, you viewers warned away from this magnificent piece of storytelling -- with its perfect performances, beautiful photography, and stunning music -- by others concerned only for their own emotional tranquility -- need not fear: you will be redeemed. You might have a hang over -- the blues for a day, maybe two, like I did first or second time in -- but you'll wake up grimmer, wiser, and cracking a deeper sort of joke than you did before you went in. Or maybe you'll just write unforgettably deeply unfathomable sentences troubled, as always, with the vagrancy of grammar and agency coupling with the frottable slipperiness of actionable reality.

At 110+ minutes running time for the theatrical version, I think that's plenty. Betty Blue is a work of art that returns a potent payout. There are those who extol the virtues of the three-hour-long extended version, with all that added pain, but I am not one of them. Still, it's good to have doses (betcha better watch for Cinema Libre's extended-cut release) and it's good to be able to come back to Betty Blue.
  buy this DVD now or browse millions of other great products at amazon.com
reviewed by Brian Charles Clark
    action | animation | art house/international | comedy | documentary | drama | family | horror/sci-fi | suspense | television    
    browse DVDs alphabetical by title    
    contact | home