Director Jean-Jacques Beineix’s BETTY BLUE was a critical and financial success back in 1986 when it first hit the big screen. However, as well-received and as good as that movie was, it was not the film as envisioned by the filmmaker. Not entirely. While the Director’s Cut of BETTY BLUE has been available on DVD for a few years now, it has never seen a theatrical release. Until now. This weekend at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre in West Los Angeles, the Director’s Cut of BETTY BLUE will screen with appearances by the acclaimed director himself. This is a film well worth seeing and a rare treat on the big screen. It is also another example of filmmakers being given the opportunity to show their works as they were envisioned, not only for the sake of film-lovers, historians, and enthusiasts, but for the filmmaker himself. For anyone who knows me and my plight to get the proper cut of THE PLAGUE released, you know why this issue is so very important to me.
Here is a letter from director Jean-Jacques Beineix himself to the patrons of Landmark Theatres:
The big screen experience is unique: to see art house films in their real dimension, especially for younger audiences, is a way to extend, educate and share the love for cinema and culture. But with the pressures of immediate box-office success and commoditization of the cinema-going experience, how can we help this art form survive?
A director’s cut is above all the vision that a director wants to express. It’s not necessarily the best version or the most satisfying, because it can be uneven or too long. But this is the artist’s true vision.
Betty Blue: The Director’s Cut, opening for the first time in the U.S. at Landmark Theatres, is in fact a polished version of the rough cut I made of the film. The version that was successfully released in 1986, both in France and worldwide, was a shortened version of the rough cut. This 1986 version, although I had envisioned it and edited it, was not the film I had dreamt of, nor shot. To explain this paradox, I have to go back to 1983 and a film I made, Moon in the Gutter, starring Gérard Depardieu and Nastassja Kinski.
I applied the same aesthetic and vision I first experimented with for Diva. I pushed things very far without thinking about artistic restrictions or self preservation, but it lasted four hours in its first cut.
The producers and French distributor put me under a terrible strain to cut the film. Haunted by poor reviews when Diva was first released in France, I was forced to edit in a rhythm that did not respect the way I shot the movie. When the film was in official competition at Cannes, it was panned by critics.
Therefore, when I started Betty Blue, I formed my own production company, Cargo Films, to control my vision. On time and on budget, the first version of Betty Blue was more than three hours and 45 minutes. So I put my focus into reducing the length to respect my vision and to meet commercial standards. I cut a lot of the intermediary scenes, focused as much as possible on the action and suppressed secondary characters.
It resulted in box office success and received critical acclaim. From there, I reinvested part of my share into a director’s cut, which is the original version. By doing so, I ended the doubts I had about my own artistic integrity.
This is the version you can discover now at select Landmark Theatres. I wish them success, not only for Betty Blue: The Director’s Cut, but for all future films and for their unique contribution to the seventh art (cinema). The continued support of a network of independent theatres in the U.S. focused on art house films will help this art form survive.
I hope you truly enjoy this version and we’d be happy to answer further questions by email at email@example.com.
— Jean-Jacques Beineix, director
SPECIAL APPEARANCE! Director Jean-Jacques Beineix will be in person at the Nuart Theatre on Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4 for a Q&A after the 8pm show.