Betty Blue

She's young, she's beautiful, she never wears underwear—why did she have to go and poke her eye out? Perhaps one reason Jean-Jacques Beineix' films took a dip after Diva is that he feels obliged to deal with the tough questions that really bother a guy. Jean-Hugues Anglade is a writer on the skids, spurred to renewed creativity by the impulsive, nubile, and nearly always naked Betty, played by winsome Beatrice Dalle. Though Betty has much of the same lush color and composition as Beineix' smash debut, it has none of that film's neck-snapping rapid editing or sheer effervescence. Beineix' third film offers some stiffly comic moments: Betty throwing paint on a boorish employer's windshield, attacking an abusive editor, skewering a nasty customer in the pizza joint where she works as a waitress. But unlike Diva, in Betty the fruit of such free-spiritedness is not exhilarating triumph but madness and death, ushered in with heavier and heavier blue filtering and climaxing in a scene that simultaneously plagiarizes both The Tenant and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Perhaps what is least satisfying about Beineix' effort is its implied theme—that women are mere muses to be addled, suffocated, and sacrificed to revitalize the imaginations of men (1986).

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