First published on 2 Jun 2008. Updated on 10 Jun 2008.
Rappeneau's 1990 version of Rostand's theatrical warhorse never puts a foot wrong. Much of the credit goes to Depardieu, as the Gascon swordsman and braggart whose unsightly nose prevents him from confessing his love for Roxane.
The text - still in Alexandrine verse - exudes all the grace and pace of a deftly orchestrated rondo (admirably served by Anthony Burgess' English subtitling), and this almost musical sense of meaning reinforced by rhythm extends throughout: the camera swoops at moments of ebullience, the performers' gestures, movements and delivery of lines seem almost choreographed.
Everything has been fleshed out to its full potential; the entire scale of the piece, too, is augmented, so that landscapes, sets, battles and countless extras reflect the enormity of the poet Cyrano's unspoken torment. Rappeneau's movie-making demonstrates an unshowy confidence in itself and its subject that is wholly justifiable.
DVD Extras Gerard Depardieu interview, Legend of Cyrano essay, and Roger Ebert review.