Betty Blue

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Year Released: 1986
Rating: 2.0

L'amour fou: mid-80's edition.  Struggling writer and Mr. Fix-It Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) and his nineteen-year-old girlfriend Betty (Béatrice Dalle) live (and fornicate) in a shack in the South of France where his employer orders them to paint all of the bungalows in the area, she thinks they're being taken advantage of and sets their house on fire, they go and stay in a hotel near Paris that her friend Lisa (Consuelo de Haviland) owns and become friends with restauranteur Eddy (Gérard Darmon) who later on lets them manage his late Mother's piano store ... but Betty's mental state keeps deteriorating.  The main reason for its "popularity" is the presence of Dalle, who plays the stereotypical French seductress - she's young, impulsive and usually naked (reminding me of Bardot in And God Created Woman) - and whenever the "narrative" lags and needs some "drama" it has her act out, stabbing a crabby patron with a fork, slashing a book publisher in the face, darting down the street screaming, etc.  It's a pretty movie - the cinematography by Jean-François Robin deserves special mention - but vacuous, and its romanticization of insanity is crude: her decent into total madness comes quite quickly (considering the three hour running time) and gets even more sensational (Anglade dresses in drag to rob an armored car company, Betty steals a kid and cuts out her own eye).  I understand why Zorg sticks with her, though: not only because the sex is good, but she believes in him.  I'll admit this here: as far as I know, not a single one of my ex-girlfriends has ever read more than a paragraph of anything I've written.  I can't say I blame them, but still....