Monday 23 November 2015


“A large nose is the mark of a witty, courteous, affable, generous and liberal man.” - Cyrano deBergerac

We watched an old movie at the weekend, which we got on a DVD at a garage sale. We don’t often go to garage sales, but if one is on our way somewhere and it’s convenient to stop we do have a look – curiosity, I guess what other people consider as junk… One can find some interesting things in these sales, although the majority of them are full of heaps of junk, and we agree with the sellers that we wouldn’t want it either. But one never knows, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”, they say…

The film was Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s 1990 “Cyrano de Bergerac”,  starring Gérard Depardieu, Anne Brochet and Vincent Perez. Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (6 March 1619 – 28 July 1655) was a French novelist, playwright, epistolarian and duelist. A bold and innovative author, his work was part of the libertine literature of the first half of the seventeenth century. Today he is best known as the inspiration for Edmond Rostand’s most noted drama ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ which, although it includes elements of his life, also contains invention and myth. Since the 1970s, there has been a resurgence in the study of Cyrano, demonstrated in the abundance of theses, essays, articles and biographies published in France and elsewhere. The film can thus be regarded as fictionalised biography, and is based on Edmond Rostand’s play, from which Jean-Claude Carrière and Jean-Paul Rappeneau produced the excellent screenplay.

Cyrano is a dashing officer of the guard as well as a talented poet, whose romantic verse make women swoon. He is in love with his cousin Roxane but he daren’t tell her because of his big problem: A very large and prominent nose, which he nevertheless feels may be responsible for the development of  razor-sharp wit. Cyrano believes that Roxane will reject him on account of his nose. He resorts to writing letters to her on behalf of one of his cadets, Christian, who is also in love with Roxane but just doesn’t know how to tell her. She falls for the poetic charm of the letters but believes that they were written by Christian and not Cyrano….

This is the film that made Gérard Depardieu a world-wide superstar. Although he was a star in the French cinema for years, Depardieu was unknown in many other countries around the world. As this film won two Academy awards in 1990 (best foreign language film, and best costumes – these were designed by Franca Squarciapino), it generated enough interest around the globe, winning Depardieu well-deserved fame. Depardieu was born to play the role of Cyrano and every word he speaks could not have been delivered in a better way! The rest of the cast are also worthy of praise and the direction, cinematography, scenery and costumes will please all.

French is said to be the language of love, and in this screenplay (as in the original play), all speeches are in rhyming verse which sound absolutely wonderful and this helps to blow a few cobwebs from your high school French. In the version we saw the subtitles were excellently done and gave a great rendition of the original. The music score by Kurt Kuenne and Jean-Claude Petit complemented the action well and was not obtrusive. The film is a fantastic mix of humour, poignancy, action, romance, wit, farce, drama and spectacle. Definitely worth searching for it and viewing it!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the movie years ago, he was grandious, the dear Gerard. Herzlich Pippa