CYRANNO DE BERGERAC
DIRECTOR: JEAN-PAUL RAPPENEAU
COUNTRY: FRANCE (1991)
SCREENPLAY: Jean Claude Carriere based on Edmond Rostands's famous epic poem.
CAST: Gerard Depardieu, Anna Brochet
COSTUMES: Franca Squarciapina.
SUPER FEATURES: Gerard Depardieu. A pretty Roxanne.
Cyranno is a good film. In fact, it is much better than the first film version of this story which brought Jose Ferrer an Oscar.
I am not a Gerard Depardieu fan. To me, he is to the french, what Arnold and Bruce are to the American fans. Sometimes I am glad I am not a woman, to have those tastes. But Gerard, does stand out in this film, in a role that can fit his size and lack of ability. He has been taught how to read poetry, or at least, how to say it. And at the same time, the film is so well directed, that it probably hides Depardieu's inabilities, while allowing for his strengths. As in his past characters, in many small time films (Jean de Florette is the exception) he usually played the part of bad boy, or lover who took advantage of his many girlfriends, and a good for nothing character, his brooding tendencies seem to fit this character. While Cyranno is quick to his feet with his epée, he is slow to his feet with his honesty, and love. And the procrastination lasts a lifetime, which the poor girl Roxanne never has realized, or figured out. Either Cyranno is too shy, or this girl just is too naive, and not a good companion for him, who is so intelectually stimulated. After 30 years, their love is still not discussed. Only on his last words is he capable of telling his beloved about all his letters, and his tries to reach her attention.
It is a statement on the ideological ways of youth, who would rather get involved with an idea they like, rather than a person who might be good for them, and then wonder why things didn't work out, when they could try the ones who really care first. Roxanne is infatuated by the young fighter and soldier whom she thinks is trying to reach her. The young soldier dies and Roxanne is grief stricken, but never notices that the beautiful letters still come to her.
The best thing in this movie are the costumes and the moody settings. The weakest is the whole ending, when it gets a bit soggy.
The script is written by today's best known film writer, JEAN CLAUDE CARRIERE, whose material has now graced the stages and film screens for over four decades, always with satisfying results. The talent is the mix of well known poetry, and lines, with a setting that is excellent, and an atmosphere that is really beautiful and well lit. With such nice costumes, if you don't do a good job acting it all through, you just don't have it.
Anna Brochet plays the role of Roxanne, and is a bit on the flaky (youthful) side and loses the innocence as she gets older, but never figures out who her pursuer is although it is obvious to us. Depardieu starts strongly and ends weakly. It may have merited his Oscar nomination. He is good. But the movie is much better.
The Steve Martin film was taken from this story, and while it is funny, it does not have the 'tragic lovers' feel that this film and original story does. The Martin film is a good natured love story, based loosely on a good story, with a much better result. If you are, or were, a French student, you have read this play, with its old french style. The poetry is good.
See it, when you feel like seeing something different.
This film won a bunch of awards in many of Europe's film festivals.
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