THE FILM: "Cyrano de Bergerac" (Orion Classics: subtitled)
THE STORY: The film is based on the romantic play by Edmond Rostand. Cyrano de Bergerac (Gerard Depardieu), an eloquent man whose soul is even bigger than his enormous nose, loves his cousin Roxanne (Anne Brochet) but she loves (and is loved by) a pretty, but tongue-tied baron, Christian de Neuvillete (Vincent Perez). The sublime Cyrano pours out his own love for Roxanne by writing love letters and glorious, romantic speeches for the awkward Christian. Although tragedy strikes the trio, all the wayward hearts are satisfied and True Love shines forth.
THE LOOK: Quelle vision romantique! Like the language of the play, the costumes are a parade of early Cavalier style. They reflect a time when romance was not only in the word, but in the artful use of capes and courtly flourishes with plumed hats. Costume designer Franca Squarciapino didn't want this to be "another banal swashbuckler." This was her first film effort, (her previous work has been in the theater). And though the period is very specific (1635-40), she fudged a little, she said, "because you have to put a little poetry in the clothes." She used the predominant fabrics of that era--silks, linens, velvets and leather. Preferring to do her own dyeing, she made the palette of soft pastels for the principal actors and accented it with floppy lace collars and cuffs and embroidery. The women wear mostly square and off-the-shoulder necklines, pointed or square lace collars accenting the stiff, corseted bodices worn over skirts of flowing ankle-length silk or velvet.