Cyrano De Bergerac

"Extraordinary"

Cyrano De Bergerac Review


Edmond Rostand's 1898 play Cyrano de Bergerac is a definitive example of European romanticism: the truth is buried, beauty is found to be skin deep and virtue goes unrewarded.

After surviving Steve Martin's 1988 comedic translation, Roxanne, Cyrano has been resurrected for the screen again, this time in its native French. This latest version, is involving and depressing. See it alone, or go with someone you love who can cheer you up afterwards.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it takes place amid the swarming streets of Paris, where cadets go out to "make cuckolds" every night. Cyrano de Bergerac (played by international up-and-comer and France's answer to Michael Caine, Gerard Depardieu) is a man to be reckoned with, thanks to his poetic gifts, ostentatious swordplay, and giant nose (the largest in France, we are told). His ugliness, however, denies him the joys of female companionship, as he explains at great length (length being the problem, after all). "My nose precedes me by 15 minutes," he muses.

Of course, it is one woman in particular who concerns him: his cousin Roxane, played by Anne Brochet. Roxane, however, is attracted to a pretty, airheaded young cadet, Christian de Neuvillette (Vincent Perez), but Christian lacks the gift of gab so important to the passionate affair. Curious to see if the combination of his words and Christian's looks can win Roxane, Cyrano offers to provide Christian with the "wit and eloquence," he needs. Cyrano writes Christian's love letters, tells him how to talk to Roxane and even speaks for him in a balcony scene. She's won, and she declares her love for Christian's "soul," which in a sense is really Cyrano's.

Though romantics have embellished his life, Cyrano de Bergerac was a real person, a French soldier who fought gallantly in the Spanish War and subsequently wrote comedies. The filmmakers have painstakingly recreated the period, though their effort seems slightly wasted - the story has little to do with the century (the 17th) or the war Cyrano and Christian are fighting (which war it is doesn't really matter, since somebody was always fighting).

What matters is that, after decades of pretense, the French have finally learned to make gripping films. In making his rich and colorful movie, Rappeneau distances himself somewhat from the sweeping story, allowing the events to keep moving without disengaging the audience. At its best the film imitates life almost perfectly, as in the dark rainy night that hides Cyrano as he declares his emotion to the unseeing Roxane, or the lovely garden setting in which Roxane meets Cyrano. Not that the film shows off - to borrow a phrase from Cyrano, its elegance is interior.

As for le lug, Depardieu is no Jose Ferrer (who played the first screen Cyrano in 1950), but he is well suited to the role.

Under the control of Depardieu's tyrannical wit and physical presence, Cyrano rampages across the screen. The character is a compelling combination of strength and weakness: He is admired for his freedom of thought, yet chained by his repressed emotion. All who have loved unsuccessfully, or whose love has been thwarted by cowardice, find in him their demon. Our sympathies go with him.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 137 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st December 1990

Distributed by: Orion Home Video

Production compaines: Hachette Première, Films A2, DD Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 28

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Cyrano de Bergerac, as Roxane, as Christian de Neuvillette, as Comte de Guiche, as Sister Colette, as The Little Sister

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.