When I first saw Betty Blue, or as it was originally known, 37.2 le matin in French, I was so moved by Beatrice Dalle’s performance. It seemed to me that either she was one incredibly good actress to pull of such an incredibly diverse and complicated role, or that perhaps a part of her went into the performance. Whatever the case, I spent many months afterward thinking about the film and having to endure friends in college tell me how much I reminded them of Betty, which wasn’t an entirely good thing, but then, wasn’t an entirely bad thing.
I mean, let’s face it, she was incredibly beautiful, I reasoned, incredibly sexy and here’s my boyfriend saying I remind him of her, but at the same time, I knew that she was incredibly nuts. Maybe nuts isn’t a fair word, though throughout the film she is told “vous etes fou”. How else would one respond, after all, to the many things that Betty does that are just not done.
The film starts with one of the most shocking and yes, realistic fucking scenes of all time. Brief credits, no warning, the film opens with Betty and Zorg fucking and fucking hard. This, to this point, is the extent of their relationship, based pretty much on good sex until later when she will turn up on Zorg’s doorstep, having quit her job as a waitress because all men are bastard pigs, she says (something happened here, though we never know quite what…). In any event, Betty clearly has issues, but Zorg seems okay with this, even somewhat amused or bemused. He’s so enchanted and taken with her, and Christ, who wouldn’t be. When she arrives on his doorstep, she may be nutty, but she wears a tiny black dress with a bib beneath which her breasts hand loose and sweet like plum tomatoes, the back of the dress flaps open showing off her white, lace knickers, and that smile and expression she has would make anyone’s heart melt – man or woman.