Betty Blue (1986)

The Piano

Sometimes a film makes a long, long journey.

For me this happened in several ways. The first is in real time. I saw this a couple decades ago in the short version. I was unimpressed. The word on it then was all about the first scene, how it was supposed to be “real” sex, as if that were important. I remember the film as a tepid failure.

I recently saw “H Story” and was blown away by Beatrice Dalle. So I sought this out, having forgotten seeing it. I was lucky enough to see the director’s cut at over three hours.

It is an engaging thing, a rather delicate and rich journey within the thing, a well crafted love story. There are a hundred intimacies here, and most of them not directly involving the two romantically.

The main spine is musical. The couple end up owning a piano store and a piano melody is introduced which is so, so very effective it recalls how music was woven into the space between the two lovers in “Elvira Madigan.” After we relate the pianos to their future, there’s a terrific sequence — a meditation. Everything in the centre of the film is meditative — a sequence where a piano is delivered on a huge truck, and certain dear things happen.

It still has a severely flawed ending, but the trip is wonderful. Cinematic love, a relationship born right. Two actors and a director who understands.

Posted in 2006

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.

IMDB

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