Betty Blue (1986 D: Jean-Jacques Beineix, W: Jean-Jacques Beineix)
Growing up in a small Minnesota town in the 1980s, you had to drive 45 minutes to find anything that didn’t resemble a hockey stick, a football or a stalk of corn. My friend Chris Becker and I discovered a mutual love for movies about this time, and we would drive to Minneapolis to see whatever was playing at the Uptown Theater. This was the first movie we drove to see, and I don’t know that I’d seen a foreign film in a theater before. I remember gorgeous Beatrice Dalle in the title role, a pretty intensely graphic 7-minute-long sex scene that started the movie (Hey, 16 year old me said, I guess French movies are pretty cool!), an equally graphic violent moment late in the film, and its passionate tone wavering from emotional extreme to extreme. I also remember that pretty quickly, I didn’t even notice the subtitles anymore, and heard the dialogue in my head. I never looked at movie listings — or the small town I was from — the same way again.