Saturday, January 19, 2019

Cyrano de Bergerac

Movie Name: Cyrano de Bergerac
Year of Release: 1990
Director: Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Anne Brochet, Vincent Perez, Jacques Weber, Roland Bertin, Phillippe Morier-Genoud, Pierre Maguelon, Philippe Volter, Louis Navarre
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8 
View trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Writer/Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau has been working steadily since the 50s. "Cyrano de Bergerac", which made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival of 1990, is undoubtedly his biggest hit, both commercially and critically (the film went on to win 10 César Awards, the Academy Award French equivalent). Adapted from the play by Edmond Rostand by Rappeneau and Jean-Claude Carrière, the film follows the adventures of the heroic and larger than life Cyrano. He's a valiant, sensitive and humorous poet and man of arms, possessed of a large nose, something that makes him somewhat self-conscious. He's also in love with his cousin, the beautiful Roxanne. When he discovers she has become enamored of the young and dashing Christian de Neuvillette, himself a new cadet serving in the same military branch as himself, he decides to help him gain her affections. Cyrano starts writing and telling Christian what to say to her. As Roxanne falls in love with Christian, another rival enters the scene, someone who takes the situation in a different direction. As Roxanne denies her affections to this man, his reprisals force Christian and Cyrano to go to war with the Spanish, with dramatic consequences.
"Cyrano de Bergerac" is a film that is truly a testament to the beautiful writings of Edmond Rostand, but also to the vision of Jean-Paul Rappeneau to stage the film in a dynamic, humorous and emotional manner. The film captures the lyricism and poetry of the original writings and by extension, it builds a beautifully rendered story of unrequited love. Gérard Depardieu is truly phenomenal as Cyrano, a memorable performance where his immense talent and physicality are perfectly tailored to this character, from the athletic aspect of it, to the quieter and softer moments that the film provides. It's a performance that is richly layered, going through a range of emotions, something that makes the character, and the film by extension, feel truly alive, and not just a superbly crafted period reconstruction. The supporting cast is equally fantastic, from the beautiful Anne Brochet, Vincent Perez and Jacques Weber, as the denied lover. It's a film that works both in the emotional larger set pieces, with the swashbuckling/action scenes, but also in the smaller, emotional and quieter ones. The cinematography from Pierre Lhomme is beautiful, as is the score of Jean-Claude Petit. A fantastic film always worth watching.