C'est Si Bon!

France scores big among the new year’s foreign-language imports. Finally we get to see Jean-Paul Rappcneau’s adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, (the fifth remake, including the 1950 version with Jose Ferrer). Gerard Depardieu won Best Actor at Cannes last year for his performance as the ugly, passionate phrasemaker who falls tragically in love with his cousin (Anne Brochet). Superbly subtitled by no less a linguist than Anthonv Burgess, this gorgeously photographed film boasts a special designer for the famous schnoz, which, Cyrano announces, “precedes me by fifteen minutes.” (The prolific Depardieu also stars in Peter Weir’s Green Card [Touchstone], as a Frenchman who marries Andie MacDowell in order to get American citizenship.) Bertrand Tavernier’s Daddy Nostalgia, a wordy sonata of a film that falls disappointingly flat after his triumphant Life and Nothing But, is nonetheless worth seeing for Dirk Bogarde’s quietly accomplished comeback performance as a terminally ill man conducting unfinished business with his daughter (Jane Birkin).

The new independent distributor Aries Films, which last year brought us Maurizio Nichetti’s splendid The Icicle Thief, offers Docteur Petiot, a fact-based drama directed by Christian de Chalonge, starring Michel Serrault as the notorious Parisian doctor who, under the pretense of rescuing Jews, killed them for their valuables.