Cyrano de Bergerac


2h 15m 1990

Brief Synopsis

A poet-soldier allows his oversized nose to stand in the way of love.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1990
Production Company
Centre National Du Cinema; Dda Public Relations; Eclair Group; Films A2; StudioCanal; Ugc; Ugc International
Distribution Company
Orion Classics; Concorde Films; Concorde Filmverleih Gmbh; Curzon Artificial Eye; Finnkino Oy; Herald Ace Inc; New Vision Films; Orion Classics; Orion Home Video; Shapira Films; Sony Pictures Releasing International
Location
Loing Valley, France; Dijon, France; Budapest, Hungary; Uzes, France; Le Mans, France; Fontenay Abbey, France

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 15m

Synopsis

A gallant swordsman and poet, his features marred by a grotesquely long nose, perishes from unrequited love for his beautiful cousin.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1990
Production Company
Centre National Du Cinema; Dda Public Relations; Eclair Group; Films A2; StudioCanal; Ugc; Ugc International
Distribution Company
Orion Classics; Concorde Films; Concorde Filmverleih Gmbh; Curzon Artificial Eye; Finnkino Oy; Herald Ace Inc; New Vision Films; Orion Classics; Orion Home Video; Shapira Films; Sony Pictures Releasing International
Location
Loing Valley, France; Dijon, France; Budapest, Hungary; Uzes, France; Le Mans, France; Fontenay Abbey, France

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 15m

Award Wins

Best Costume Design

1990

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1990
Gerard Depardieu

Best Art Direction

1990

Best Foreign Language Film

1990

Best Makeup

1990

Articles

Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)


Edmond Rostand first published his play Cyrano de Bergerac in 1897. An immediate hit upon its first Paris production, the story has lived on as the ultimate romance, cherished equally for the affection two men hold for the woman they both love - one secretly - and for the great sacrifice one friend makes for another. The spirit of the drama is so indelible, it has been filmed countless times for film and television in many countries. But many critics and audiences place Jean-Paul Rappeneau's 1990 version at the top of that list, with Gérard Depardieu's Cyrano arguably the finest of all.

Cyrano is a dashing officer of the guard in mid-17th century France. An expert swordsman, he also has a rapier wit, devastating anyone who dares to ridicule his huge nose. Because of that incredible appendage, however, he is sure he can never profess his love for his cousin Roxane, so he agrees to help his handsome but dim-witted subordinate, Christian, woo her by writing her love letters. Cyrano's beautiful skill with words and the deep feelings he harbors for the young woman easily win her heart, although she believes the sentiments are coming from Christian.

There actually was a historical figure on whom Rostand based his play. Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655) was a French dramatist and duelist whose portraits suggest that he did have a big nose, though not nearly as large as depicted in the fictional works about him. The stories add much other fiction as well; he did have a cousin who married a soldier friend of his, but her name was Catherine, and he likely did not write love letters to her on his friend's behalf. Both men, however, fought at the siege of Arras in 1640, a battle of the Thirty Years War between France and Spain, just as in the play. A statue in Cyrano's honor stands in the town of Bergerac, Dordogne.

Depardieu relished his role, and aside from the prosthetic nose, also enjoyed his look in this picture enough to keep the long hair and mustache for some time after. Playing Cyrano has certainly been one of the crowning achievements of his long career. The role earned him Best Actor awards from the London Film Critics Circle, the Cannes Film Festival, and the César (the national film awards of France), as well as nominations from BAFTA (the British Academy Award) and the European Film Awards. He also received an Academy Award nomination.

Other honored aspects of Cyrano de Bergerac include Césars for Best Film, Cinematography, Costume, Direction, Editing, Music, Production Design, Sound, and Supporting Actor Jacques Weber; BAFTA awards for Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup, and Score; a Golden Globe and National Board of Review Award for Best Foreign Language Film; an Academy Award for Costume Design (along with nominations for Makeup, Art Direction, and Foreign Language Film), and dozens of other awards and nominations from film societies, critics organizations, and festivals throughout the world.

Even the subtitles for this 1990 version carry distinction. They were written by acclaimed British novelist, critic, poet, playwright, and linguist Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange and Earthly Powers. Burgess composed the English subtitles in rhymed couplets to mirror the dialogue of Rostand's original play.

The most famous film version of the story prior to this was made in 1950 and earned Jose Ferrer a Best Actor Academy Award. Toshiro Mifune plays a character based on Cyrano, set in 17th century Japan, in Aru kengo no shogai/Life of an Expert Swordsman (1959). The story has also been transposed to a modern American setting in Roxanne (1987), in which Steve Martin earned an Oscar® nomination as a big-nosed, small-town fire chief who woos his Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) on behalf of one of his young firefighters (Rick Rossovich).

Cyrano de Bergerac required 2,000 actors and extras and 2,000 costumes. About 1,000 of those costumes were designed especially for the film. More than a thousand weapons were required, along with forty studio sets and outdoor locations in France and Hungary, including cathedrals and abbeys.

In the film, Gérard Depardieu and Vincent Perez play rivals for Roxane's love. In real life, they would both be involved with the same woman, actress Karine Silla. In 1992, Depardieu and Silla had a daughter, whom they named Roxanne. Silla and Perez were married in 1998.

Edmond Rostand's original play identifies one character as "a Musketeer" who compliments Cyrano after his duel with Valvert. He is identified in that scene as D'Artagnan; it may have been Rostand's intention to deliberately recall the central hero of The Three Musketeers and other Alexandre Dumas novels. Coincidentally, the two most famous Cyranos have appeared in adaptations of those novels: Depardieu as Porthos in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) and Ferrer as Athos in The Fifth Musketeer (1979).

Cinematographer Pierre Lhomme is one of France's most respected film artists and a sought-after director of photography in other countries, responsible for the filming of such works as Philippe de Broca's King of Hearts (1966), Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows (1969), and several James Ivory films, including Maurice (1987). In addition to his César for this picture, he won for another Depardieu vehicle (with Isabelle Adjani), Camille Claudel (1988).

The script was adapted by director Jean-Paul Rappeneau and Jean-Claude Carrière. Luis Bunuel's longtime collaborator on six films, including Belle de Jour (1967) and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Carrière has also written films for Jean-Luc Godard (Every Man for Himself, 1980) and Volker Schlondorff (The Tin Drum, 1979). Director: Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Producers: René Cleitman, Michel Seydoux, André Szöts
Screenplay: Jean-Claude Carrière, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, based on the play by Edmond Rostand
Cinematography: Pierre Lhomme
Editing: Noelle Boisson
Production Design: Ezio Frigerio
Original Music: Jean-Claude Petit
Cast: Gérard Depardieu (Cyrano), Anne Brochet (Roxane), Vincent Perez (Christian), Jacques Weber (Comte de Guiche), Roland Bertin (Ragueneau).
C-137m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. Descriptive Video.

by Rob Nixon
Cyrano De Bergerac (1990)

Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)

Edmond Rostand first published his play Cyrano de Bergerac in 1897. An immediate hit upon its first Paris production, the story has lived on as the ultimate romance, cherished equally for the affection two men hold for the woman they both love - one secretly - and for the great sacrifice one friend makes for another. The spirit of the drama is so indelible, it has been filmed countless times for film and television in many countries. But many critics and audiences place Jean-Paul Rappeneau's 1990 version at the top of that list, with Gérard Depardieu's Cyrano arguably the finest of all. Cyrano is a dashing officer of the guard in mid-17th century France. An expert swordsman, he also has a rapier wit, devastating anyone who dares to ridicule his huge nose. Because of that incredible appendage, however, he is sure he can never profess his love for his cousin Roxane, so he agrees to help his handsome but dim-witted subordinate, Christian, woo her by writing her love letters. Cyrano's beautiful skill with words and the deep feelings he harbors for the young woman easily win her heart, although she believes the sentiments are coming from Christian. There actually was a historical figure on whom Rostand based his play. Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655) was a French dramatist and duelist whose portraits suggest that he did have a big nose, though not nearly as large as depicted in the fictional works about him. The stories add much other fiction as well; he did have a cousin who married a soldier friend of his, but her name was Catherine, and he likely did not write love letters to her on his friend's behalf. Both men, however, fought at the siege of Arras in 1640, a battle of the Thirty Years War between France and Spain, just as in the play. A statue in Cyrano's honor stands in the town of Bergerac, Dordogne. Depardieu relished his role, and aside from the prosthetic nose, also enjoyed his look in this picture enough to keep the long hair and mustache for some time after. Playing Cyrano has certainly been one of the crowning achievements of his long career. The role earned him Best Actor awards from the London Film Critics Circle, the Cannes Film Festival, and the César (the national film awards of France), as well as nominations from BAFTA (the British Academy Award) and the European Film Awards. He also received an Academy Award nomination. Other honored aspects of Cyrano de Bergerac include Césars for Best Film, Cinematography, Costume, Direction, Editing, Music, Production Design, Sound, and Supporting Actor Jacques Weber; BAFTA awards for Cinematography, Costume Design, Makeup, and Score; a Golden Globe and National Board of Review Award for Best Foreign Language Film; an Academy Award for Costume Design (along with nominations for Makeup, Art Direction, and Foreign Language Film), and dozens of other awards and nominations from film societies, critics organizations, and festivals throughout the world. Even the subtitles for this 1990 version carry distinction. They were written by acclaimed British novelist, critic, poet, playwright, and linguist Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange and Earthly Powers. Burgess composed the English subtitles in rhymed couplets to mirror the dialogue of Rostand's original play. The most famous film version of the story prior to this was made in 1950 and earned Jose Ferrer a Best Actor Academy Award. Toshiro Mifune plays a character based on Cyrano, set in 17th century Japan, in Aru kengo no shogai/Life of an Expert Swordsman (1959). The story has also been transposed to a modern American setting in Roxanne (1987), in which Steve Martin earned an Oscar® nomination as a big-nosed, small-town fire chief who woos his Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) on behalf of one of his young firefighters (Rick Rossovich). Cyrano de Bergerac required 2,000 actors and extras and 2,000 costumes. About 1,000 of those costumes were designed especially for the film. More than a thousand weapons were required, along with forty studio sets and outdoor locations in France and Hungary, including cathedrals and abbeys. In the film, Gérard Depardieu and Vincent Perez play rivals for Roxane's love. In real life, they would both be involved with the same woman, actress Karine Silla. In 1992, Depardieu and Silla had a daughter, whom they named Roxanne. Silla and Perez were married in 1998. Edmond Rostand's original play identifies one character as "a Musketeer" who compliments Cyrano after his duel with Valvert. He is identified in that scene as D'Artagnan; it may have been Rostand's intention to deliberately recall the central hero of The Three Musketeers and other Alexandre Dumas novels. Coincidentally, the two most famous Cyranos have appeared in adaptations of those novels: Depardieu as Porthos in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) and Ferrer as Athos in The Fifth Musketeer (1979). Cinematographer Pierre Lhomme is one of France's most respected film artists and a sought-after director of photography in other countries, responsible for the filming of such works as Philippe de Broca's King of Hearts (1966), Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows (1969), and several James Ivory films, including Maurice (1987). In addition to his César for this picture, he won for another Depardieu vehicle (with Isabelle Adjani), Camille Claudel (1988). The script was adapted by director Jean-Paul Rappeneau and Jean-Claude Carrière. Luis Bunuel's longtime collaborator on six films, including Belle de Jour (1967) and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Carrière has also written films for Jean-Luc Godard (Every Man for Himself, 1980) and Volker Schlondorff (The Tin Drum, 1979). Director: Jean-Paul Rappeneau Producers: René Cleitman, Michel Seydoux, André Szöts Screenplay: Jean-Claude Carrière, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, based on the play by Edmond Rostand Cinematography: Pierre Lhomme Editing: Noelle Boisson Production Design: Ezio Frigerio Original Music: Jean-Claude Petit Cast: Gérard Depardieu (Cyrano), Anne Brochet (Roxane), Vincent Perez (Christian), Jacques Weber (Comte de Guiche), Roland Bertin (Ragueneau). C-137m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. Descriptive Video. by Rob Nixon

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Cited as Best Foreign Film of 1990 by the National Board of Review.

The Country of France

Winner of the 1990 Toronto Festival of Festivals award for Most Popular Film.

Winner of the 1994 Cesar de Cesars Award for best picture among the previous 19 winners of the best film award. Previously won ten 1990 Cesars, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor (Gerard Depardieu).

Released in United States 1990

Released in United States December 18, 1990

Released in United States December 21, 1990

Released in United States Fall November 16, 1990

Released in United States February 1991

Released in United States November 1990

Released in United States on Video September 26, 1991

Released in United States September 1990

Shown at Belgrade International Film Festival February 1-10, 1991.

Shown at London Film Festival November 8-25, 1990.

Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 6-15, 1990.

Began shooting May 8, 1989.

Completed shooting late September 1989.

Released in United States 1990 (Shown at Telluride Film Festival August 31 - September 3, 1990.)

Released in United States September 1990 (Shown at Toronto Festival of Festivals September 6-15, 1990.)

Released in United States on Video September 26, 1991

Released in United States November 1990 (Shown at London Film Festival November 8-25, 1990.)

Released in United States Fall November 16, 1990

Released in United States December 18, 1990 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States December 21, 1990

The investment by the Club des Investisseurs, comprised of Credit Lyonnais, Credit Agricole, Credit National, Worms, Epargne de France, Caisse des Depots and Sodete, is guaranteed by the French government's Institut pour le Financement du Cinema et des Industries Culturelles (IFCIC).

Released in United States February 1991 (Shown at Belgrade International Film Festival February 1-10, 1991.)