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28. Cyrano de Bergerac

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Cyrano de Bergerac is a 1990 French-language film based on the 1897 play of the same name by Edmond Rostand. It was directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau and adapted by Jean-Claude Carrière and Jean-Paul Rappeneau. The English subtitles use Anthony Burgess's translation of the text, which preserves the rhyming alexandrines of the original. The film was a co-production between companies in France and Hungary.

The film is the first theatrical film version of Rostand's original play in color. It is also considerably more lavish, and has more details than previous film versions of the play.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a Parisian poet andswashbuckler with a large nose of which he is self-conscious, which he pretends to be proud of. He is madly in love with his "friendly cousin" (they were not actually related as cousins), the beautiful Roxane; however, he does not believe she will requite his love because he considers himself physically unattractive. Soon he finds that Roxane has become infatuated with Christian de Neuvillette, a dashing new recruit to the Cadets of Gascogne, the military unit of which Cyrano is the captain. Christian however, despite his good looks, is tongue-tied when speaking with women. Seeing an opportunity to vicariously declare his love for Roxane, he decides to aid Christian, who does not know how to court a woman and gain her love. Cyrano aids Christian, writing love letters and poems describing the very emotions that Cyrano himself feels for Roxane. Roxane begins to appreciates Christian not only for his good looks but now his apparent eloquence. She eventually falls in love with him and they contract a secret marriage. However, right after the wedding ceremony, Christian has been called off to fight in the war against the Spanish. The war is harsh and brutal: the Cadets of Gascogne are starving. Cyrano escapes over enemy lines each morning to deliver a love letter written by Cyrano himself but signed with Christian's name, sent to Roxane. Christian, at this time, is completely unaware of Cyrano's doings on his behalf. The love letters Cyrano writes eventually draw Roxane out from the city of Paris to the war front. She had come to visit Christian, the supposed romantic poet. However, during the battle that follows Roxane's visit, Christian is wounded and dies in battle. Cyrano fights off the attackers and the French win. Cyrano keeps his love for Roxane a secret for fourteen years, during which time he becomes unpopular because of his raucous behavior and she becomes a nun. However, during this time, Cyrano faithfully visits Roxane at her convent until a fateful attempt on his life leaves him mortally injured. (He was not wounded by a sword, but suffered a serious head injury when struck by a heavy wooden beam.) Only then does he reveal to Roxane his feelings towards her. As Cyrano dies, Roxane realizes that it was he, and not Christian, whom she had really loved all along.

This film marked the second time that an actor had been nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Cyrano; the first time was in 1950, when José Ferrer was nominated for his performance in the English-language film of Cyrano de Bergerac. Ferrer, however, won his Oscar; Depardieu did not.


Academy Awards: Best Costume Design Franca Squarciapino

Cannes: Gérard Depardieu won the Best Actor award at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.

The film was nominated for 13 César Awards in 1991, and received 10, which is a record, including awards for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Best Director.
Won: Best Actor – Leading Role (Gérard Depardieu)
Won: Best Actor – Supporting Role (Jacques Weber)
Won: Best Cinematography (Pierre Lhomme)
Won: Best Costume Design (Franca Squarciapino)
Won: Best Director (Jean-Paul Rappeneau)
Won: Best Editing (Noëlle Boisson)
Won: Best Film
Won: Best Music (Jean-Claude Petit)
Won: Best Production Design (Ezio Frigerio)
Won: Best Sound (Pierre Gamet and Dominique Hennequin)

European Film Awards
Won: Best Production Designer (Ezio Frigerio (sets) and Franca Squarciapino (costumes))

Golden Globe
The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Won: Best Costume Design (Franca Squarciapino)
Won: Best Cinematography (Pierre L'Homme)
Won: Best Makeup (Jean-Pierre Eychenne, Michele Burke)
Won: Best Original Score (Jean-Claude Petit)


Directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Produced by René Cleitman
Michel Seydoux
André Szots
Written by Jean-Claude Carrière
Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Edmond Rostand
Starring Gérard Depardieu
Music by Jean-Claude Petit
Cinematography Pierre Lhomme
Distributed by Orion
Release date(s) 28 March 1990
Running time 137 minutes
Country France
Language French

Cyrano de Bergerac — Gérard Depardieu
Roxane — Anne Brochet
Christian de Neuvillette — Vincent Perez
Comte Antoine de Guiche — Jacques Weber
Ragueneau — Roland Bertin
Le Bret — Philippe Morier-Genoud
Carbon de Castle-Jaloux — Pierre Maguelon
The Duenna — Josiane Stoléru
The Child — Anatole Delalande
The Father — Alain Rimoux
Vicomte de Valvert — Philippe Volter
Lignière — Jean-Marie Winling
The Bore — Louis Navarre
Montfleury — Gabriel Monnet
Bellerose — François Marié

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