Jean-Jacques Beineix’s drama “37°2 le Matin” [Eng. Title: Betty Blue, Festival Title: 37°2 in the Morning] is probably his finest work to date – it was also nominated for Oscar, BAFTA and César the following year.
The romantic saga starts on a warm afternoon with Betty arriving at Zorg’s cabin by the sea – she had just quit her barmaid job after an argument with the owner. When she tells him that she hasn’t got money even for the train ticket, Zorg allows her to stay – and they embark on an intensely passionate relationship. Betty’s short temper made sure that Zorg didn’t hold his job for long, and they end up with Betty’s best friend Lisa, as paying guests. Betty wants Zorg to be a successful writer – she had read his only manuscript that was hidden away and forgotten. She now believes it’s the best novel she’d ever read and takes it upon herself to get the book published. But Betty is unable to accept rejection by publishers, and nearly ends up in prison for assaulting one of them who poked fun at it. While working at their friend’s piano store, Betty is overwhelmed with joy after discovering she could be pregnant. But when further tests prove it to be negative, Betty goes into a state of shock and starts rejecting the world and eventually even herself. Zorg, who loves her deeply, gives his all to help cure her worsening mental illness. The pain he feels for her also helps him to start writing again.
This is a director’s film, beautifully scripted, as we watch and feel the couple’s growing love. The photography and soundtrack are excellent, as are the heart-felt performances by the main actors – Jean-Hugues Anglade and Béatrice Dalle play Zorg and Betty respectively. While the film is famous for its nude scenes, there is a good story behind it, one you wouldn’t mind watching again once in a while. Highly Recommended Viewing..!
I’ve had the director’s edition DVD for some time now, and noticed the film was also released on Blu-ray more recently, but it is the general/theatrical version. To truly appreciate the film, I recommend the director’s cut, which runs for nearly three hours – an hour longer than the theatrical version. The abridged version can be confusing and perhaps even incoherent in places.
For this post, I’ve cut all the relevant scenes available in blu-ray, but also dug out my DVD for some scenes either removed, or cut-short in the theatrical release, and put them here for the record.