Betty
Kino // Unrated // $24.95 // August 2, 2005
Review by Matt Langdon | posted August 23, 2005
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Graphical Version
Betty is an interesting French drama. Based on a novel by Georges Simenon, the story is about Betty (Marie Trintignant) a destitute woman who has hit rock bottom - who tells her story to a woman with whom she shares a connection.

Betty is befriended by Laure (Stephane Audran), a kindly, rich widow who quickly takes a liking to Betty, takes her to a nice hotel room and cleans her up. Over the course of a few days Betty tells her story, which we see in flashbacks. We learn that she married into a well-to-do family but suddenly became an outcast by her inlaws who seemed to only want her to get pregnant and produce heirs.

Much of the film - directed by Claude Chabrol - takes place in a bar called the Hole where there are a number of interesting characters. Betty is a sad story but in director Chabrol's hands it becomes a psychological story will subtle thriller elements. Cinematically the film is good too because Chabrol brings us into the woman's like with close-ups, masterful editing, mystery and atmosphere.

Betty is an curious film in Claude Chabrol's career because it is does not have much of a plot and therefore has almost no suspense - for which he is famous. But it does have a psychological edge to it that fits into many of his other films.

Video:
The DVD is 16x9 enhanced and has an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The video transfer is very glossy and clean but it has a noticeable error. It has been taken from a PAL DVD and for some reason the image has the look of having been sped up. Usually there is a 4% speed-up on PAL DVDs but it is not usually noticeable. One critic here at DVD Talk suggested that there might be a time-compression issue when the transfer was done from PAL to NTSC. The movie is noted on IMDB as being 103 minutes. The DVD is 98 minutes. This is a very distracting element that - for me - takes away from the movie's quality.

Audio:
Audio is in Dolby Digital French and is not too good either. The sound has a bit of a higher pitch, which again is because of the time-compression of the DVD.

Extras:
An Introduction by French film scholar Joel Magny. It is okay but at less that 3 minutes in length it doesn't offer much. Also included the original French trailer and a stills gallery. The DVd features optional English subtitles.

Overall:
Good movie. Bad DVD. Seek out the video tape until Kino does a new transfer. I would recommend seeking out the video tape until Kino does a new transfer. Or rent the DVD and see for yourself. It may not be noticeable to some viewers.



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