lepardieu in Cyrano de Bergerac —hot tipslor European Actorand European Film DlTheYear.
hen the European Film Awards 1990 are announced later this month, Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s Cyrano de Bergerac— an epic production featuring 200 actors and extras, 40 studio sets and external locations, more swashbuckling action and antique weapons than you could shake a pike at, and a romantic story that brings a tear to the eye — is the favourite to win by a nose. In a performance hailed by the New York Times as the ‘definitive‘ Cyrano, it stars Gerard Depardieu as France’s best-loved literary hero. ‘My nose preceeds me by fifteen minutes.‘ says Cyrano, but it is his elegant interior not his ugly visage that has captivated audiences all over the world. Equally likely to prick pompous enemies with his rapier wit as pierce them with his sword, Cyrano is both a man ofthe sword and a man ofthe word.
‘I think that the French cinema needs words,‘ says director Jean-Paul Rappeneau, ‘the French public love words. And in the film they fight with swords and they fight with words, and they wound each other just as much with their words as with their weapons. It‘s a very French combination that makes Cyrano de Bergerac, it’s not only Robin I Iood, it‘s Robin Hood plus the words.’
Rappeneau never considered anyone but Depardieu for the leading role: with his unique blend of hulking physicality and soft-spoken vulnerability, Depardieu was born to play Cyrano.
‘From the beginning Gerard was the only one possible. because he is the only one in France who has this blend ofstrength and weakness, and who is prepared to show, to act out, his feminine side. I remember when I saw the first scene in Bertrand Blier‘s Tenue de Soiree, when he arrives at the nightclub, and afterwards when he walks down the street with the two other characters and he speaks very loudly. I thought, “It‘s almost like he is Cyrano.
‘But perhaps the real reason that I chose him was his voice; because I was also remembering the two films he made with Francois Truffaut — The Women Next Door and The Last Metro — where he played such gentle, sad characters, with such soft voices.‘
Part of Rappeneau’s problem in raising finance for the film was trying to convince his backers that he could breath new life into Rostand’s antique warhorse of a play: the director himself admits that it is ‘lifeless, full of straw, made out ofdust.‘ Only in the cinema, Rappeneau says, could it be made to live again: “I think the only thing that the young people in France knew about Cyrano was that he had a big nose. So what we tried to do in the film was to bring to light the heart ofthe story, which is about a man who suffers because his love for his young cousin, Roxanne, is
unrequited. But film imposes a certain amount of :
realism. so our work was to make these characters more realistic: especially Roxanne and Christian. At least in France, Rappeneau could rely on a higher level of audience awareness than in the United States. where most cinema-goers are not even aware that films like Three Men and a Baby and Three Fugitives are remakes of French originals. Even he was surprised, however, by one particularly crass example of American ignorance. ‘Some American exhibitors, they called the distributor in New York and said, “They have done a wonderful remake of Steve Martin‘s Roxanne, it’s a good story." Cyrano de Bergerac (U) screens at the GF Ton Sat 8 Dec, 6pm and opens at both the GFTand Edinburgh Filmhouse in January.
1990 EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS: THE WHOLE STORY
Held this year in the Capital ol Culture, the European Film Awards are quite simply the highest cinematic accolades to be ollered on this continent. The Dscar's rival, the Felix, was lirst awarded two years ago - and not belore time — in Berlin, where the ceremony will return next year.
(i) THE SELECTION PROCESS- co-ordinated by the European Cinema Society, a group at over 50 leading lilmmakers lrom all over Europe - is in three stages. Each ol the 27 participating countries lirstly select a contender for European Film oi the Year, Young European Film ol the Year (awarded to a director's lirst or second leature) and the European Documentary oi the Year.
From the lirst two categories, the nine-person Nomination Jury chooses seven nominations lor European Film oi the Year, live lor Young European Film oi the Year and three lor each oi eight othercategories. Meanwhile, a Documentary Jury chooses the European Documentary of the Year outright, and the ECS independently makes a Liletime Achievement Award and a Special Award. Ultimately, the Final Jury selects the linal list ol winners lrom the nomination lists and may give two Special Jury Awards at its discretion.
MHE JURY is headed by revered Swedish mimaker Ingmar Bergman, who’ll be joined by actresses Deborah Kerr and Jeanne Moreau, Italian screenwriter Suso Cecci D’Amico, and directors Theo Angelopoulos, Andrei
EUROPEAN FILM OF THE YEAR
I Ay Cannelal (15) (Carlos Saura. Spain) Thespian tragi-comedy set during the Spanish Civil War. in which two entertainers find themselves behind enemy lines. performing for the wrong side. i Carmen Maura stars.
Glasgow Film Theatre k screening. Thurs 6 Dec. 6pm.
I Cyrano de Bergerac (U) (Jean-Paul Rappeneau. France) Gerard Depardieu stars as the large-nosed hero in Rappeneau‘s highly regarded adaptation of Edmond Rostand‘s classic romantic play. English subtitles by Anthony Burgess. no less. GFT screening. Sat 8 Dec. 6pm.
I The Guardian Angel Skyddsangeln ( 15) (Suzanne Osten. Sweden) A senior politician threatened with assassination hires an enigmatic and charming bodyguard. with unpredictable
consequences. G FT screening. Fri 7 Dec.
Poland) Krystyna Janda stars as an apolitical cabaret artist arrested and brutally interrogated for ‘evidence‘ against political prisoners. GFTsereening. Tue 4 Dec. 6pm.
I The Match Factory Girl Tulitt'kkutehraan Tylto (15) (Aki Kaurismaki. Finland) The charismatic Mr Kaurismaki follows up Leningrad Cowboys (in America with the story of Iris. an unfortunate worker exploited by family. employers and the man of her dreams. who in the end resorts to desperate measures. (iI’I‘ screenings. Fri 7 Dec. 6pm. and from Sun 9 Dec for four days.
I Mother Man( 15) ((ileb Panfilov. USSR) Already 7 m twice filmed. Maxim Gorky‘s novel is the basis for Panfilov's film. in which an illiterate mother
Smirnov and Margarethe Von Trotta. They'll be watching all the nominated lilms at the luxurious Tumberry Hotel
in the week belore their decisions are announced at the ceremony on Sun 2 Dec.
MTHE BIG NIGHT takes place at Glasgow's Royal Concert HaTFon Sunday 2 December, an auspicious and glittering occasion to be televised thoughout Europe. Most ol the nominees detailed below will be in town to sweat over whether they’ve won or not, while the members at the European Cinema Society expected to attend include the likes ol Louis Malle, Sir Richard Attenborough, Istvan Szabo, David Puttnam, Max Von Sydow and many more.
(iv) TELEVISION COVERAGE in the UK will be handled by Channel 4, who are transmitting the ceremony in its entirely the following evening on Mon 3 Dec at 10pm. Setting the context lorthe awards however will be a major documentary by Paul Joyce, Pictures at Europe (Thurs 29 Nov, 10.15pm), in which a host at the continent’s major lilm artists lrom Bernardo Bertolucci to Jean-Jacques Beineix discuss luture prospects tor the European screen.
(v) TICKETS FOR THE PUBLIC are limited in number and are being distributed by the Glasgow Film Theatre through a priority booking system when you buy tickets lor two or more at the EFA screenings in advance, as detailed below. Forlurther details contct the Glasgow Film Theatre box ollice, Rose Street, 041 332 6535.
follows her activist son into political commitment
8.30pm. and finally exile. GFT I Interrogation screening. Sat 8 Dec. Przesluchanie ( 18) 2pm.
I Open Doors Porte Aperte (IS) (Gianni Amelio, Italy) Set in the Fascist Italy of 1937,Amelio‘s drama centres on a convicted murderer (Ennio Fantastichini). and the humanejudge who tries to save him from the gallows. GET screening. Wed 5 Dec. 6pm.
EUROPEAN YOUNG FILM OF THE YEAR
I Henryll (PG) (Kenneth Branagh. UK) Branagh directs and stars as the young King IIal inthis muddy. bloody screen Shakespeare which needs no introduction to British audiences. GI’I~ screening. Sat 1 Dec.
I Lie SIill — Die- Revive Zamri — ()umri — Voskresni( 15) (Vitaly Kanevsky. USSR)
The List 23 November— 6 Deccmber1990 7