Betty Blue (1986)

Betty Blue (1986)

Zorg is a handyman working in France, maintaining and looking after the bungalows. He lives a quiet and peaceful life, working diligently and writing in his spare time. One day, Betty walks into his life, a young woman who is as beautiful as she is wild and unpredictable.

After a dispute with Zorg’s boss, they leave and Betty manages to get a job at a restaurant. She persuades Zorg to try to get one of his books published, but it is rejected, which makes Betty fly into a rage. Suddenly, Betty’s wild manners start to get out of control. Zorg sees the woman he loves slowly going insane. Can his love prevail even if it comes to the worst?

Betty Blue is a 1986 French film. Its original French title is 37° 2 le matin, meaning “37.2°C in the morning” (the normal temperature of a pregnant woman in the morning). The film was directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix and stars Béatrice Dalle and Jean-Hugues Anglade. It is based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Philippe Djian. The film had 3,632,326 admissions and was the eighth highest grossing film of the year in France.

The film received both a BAFTA and Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1986, as well as winning a César Award for Best Poster. In 1992 it was awarded the Golden Space Needle of the Seattle International Film Festival.

Betty Blue (1986) - Beatrice Dalle

About the Story

Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) is a 34-year-old aspiring writer making a living as a handyman for a community of beach houses at Gruissan. He meets 19-year-old Betty (Béatrice Dalle), a volatile and impulsive young woman, and the two begin a passionate affair, living in his borrowed shack on the beach.

After a row with him where she tears apart and smashes up the house, she finds the manuscript of his first novel, reads it in one long sitting and decides he is a genius. However, after another argument with his boss, she empties the shack and burns it down. The two decamp to the outskirts of Paris, where her friend Lisa (Consuelo de Haviland) has a small hotel.

Betty laboriously types out Zorg’s novel and submits it to various publishers. They meet Lisa’s new boyfriend Eddy (Gérard Darmon), and the four have many fun times, often fueled by copious amounts of alcohol. They find work in Eddy’s pizzeria but a fight erupts in which Betty stabs a customer with a fork. Zorg tries to slap her back to her senses.

Though Zorg hides the rejection letters Betty finds one and, going to the publisher’s house, slashes his face. Zorg induces him to drop charges by threatening him with violence, saying she is the only good thing in his life and she is all he has. Eddy’s mother dies and the friends go to the funeral in Marvejols.

Betty Blue (1986) - Beatrice Dalle

There, Eddy asks Zorg and Betty if they will live in the dead woman’s house and look after her piano shop. Zorg enjoys the quiet provincial life and makes friends with the grocer Bob (Jacques Mathou), his sex-starved wife Annie (Clémentine Célarié) and various offbeat characters, but Betty’s violent mood swings are a concern. One day, after an irritable comment from Zorg, she punches out a window with her bare hand and goes on a screaming flight through the town.

Happiness seems on the horizon when a home test suggests Betty is pregnant, but a lab test is negative and she sinks into depression and tells him she is hearing voices talking to her in her head. Zorg, masquerading as a woman, robs an armored cash collection van delivery headquarters, holding the guards at gunpoint and tying them up. He attempts to use the money to buy Betty’s happiness, but she fails to respond and enacts yet another prosecutable offense by luring a small boy away from his mother and taking him to a toy store. Zorg finds her and they both flee from the authorities as they rush to rescue the boy.

Betty Blue Movie Poster (1986)

Betty Blue (1986)

Directed by: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Starring: Jean-Hugues Anglade, Béatrice Dalle, Gérard Darmon, Consuelo De Haviland, Clémentine Célarié, Jacques Mathou, Vincent Lindon, Catherine D’At
Screenplay by: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Production Design by: Carlos Conti
Cinematography by: Jean-François Robin
Film Editing by: Marie-Aimée Debril, Monique Prim, Pablo Ferro
Costume Design by: Elisabeth Tavernier
Set Decoration by: Jacques Leguillon
Music by: Gabriel Yared
Distributed by: Gaumont
Release Date: November 7, 1986