Cyrano de Bergerac

Jean-Paul Rappeneau, France 1990, 135 minutes

Rappeneau's film of Cyrano De Bergerac is, to my mind, one of the most beautiful, exuberant and poignant love stories ever committed to celluoid.

Cyrano de Bergerac (Depardieu) is witty, intelligent, kind, well loved, romantic and a great poet. Only one thing protrudes in his way to being a great lover, his rather over sized nose. For this defect he is not loved by women and in particular by the beautiful Roxane (Anne Brochet) with whom he is in love. When Roxane falls in love with the handsome but stupid Christian de Neuvillette (Vincent Perez), Cyrano offers him to woo Roxanne with his poetry, seeing this as the only means by which to express his love.

Cyrano De Bergerac is a film concerned with unrequited love, loneliness, missed opportunities and selflessness. Cyrano is a figure who, despite his kindness to all, can never be happy and feels very alone in the world - the scene where Cyrano walks away from the balcony scene in the rain is extremely poignant. Depardieu's performance brings out all these qualities. However Depardieu also shows what enormous fun the character of Cyrano is with his humour, his satirical remarks and his huge personality full of joie de vivre. This is reflected in the whole of Rappeneau's film. The pace is swift and the whole cast seem so caught up in enjoying the wit of the lines and the joy contained within the play.

The film looks and sounds beautiful and Rappeneau does much to capture the feel of France at the troubled times of Moliere and the Sun King, in a way comparable to Richardson's recreation of Fielding's England in Tom Jones.

Cyrano De Bergerac is ultimately a tragedy of epic proportions and I defy anyone to be unmoved in the last scene but it also a film that is so joyful, and Depardieu is so accomplished in his role, that on the way to its sad conclusion it is a delight to watch.

"Never puts a foot wrong" - Time Out

Review by Alicia Forsyth
Taken from EUFS Programme 1996-97

Never has the word 'swashbuckling' been put to better use than it was in the hundreds of articles on Rappeneau's Cyrano de Bergerac with, who else, but Depardieu. Gerard hype reached fever pitch at around Easter of 1990 when Cyrano won just about every 'Cesar' (French Oscar) going - in France it seemed like you couldn't turn around without seeing another image of the great (in every sense of the word) man. People who have seen the excellent Roxanne with Steve Martin will be familiar with the plot: Cyrano is in love with his cousin Roxanne, but because of his enormous hooter, he chooses not to declare it, and they remain JGF (Just Good Friends). She fancies one of Cyrano's young, handsome-but-stupid cadets, for whom Cyrano writes love letters to the beautiful Roxanne, being as he is, a master of verse. We must ask ourselves: if Roxanne is so worthy of Cyrano's love, why is it that she goes for the beauty without brains type; she even goes so far as marrying the bloke on the strength of his letters?

But once your disbelief has been willingly suspended, it is well worth the effort The story has a romance that makes you ache with Cyrano; the action scenes are brilliantly done and best of all, the dialogue - all in verse - is beautiful. And Cyrano in his battle scenes is, well, swashbuckling.

Review by Catherine Thompson
Taken from EUFS Programme 1992-93