Unabashedly explicit and ultimately tragic, "Betty Blue" is a haunting film centered on the title character's uninhibited affair with handyman-cum-writer Zorg.

Sultry Béatrice Dalle embodies lust the way Bardot did in "And God Created Woman" in 1965, but her character is unpredictable and, as the audience and her lover realize, mentally unstable. What starts as passion ends in terror. Two viewer reactions are plausible: relief at not being entangled in a volatile liaison with a mad, potentially dangerous lover, or an awakened desire to live life more intensely, to love more wildly. For us, it was both.