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March 21, 1991 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-21

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily-Thursday, March 21, 1991
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lyrano de Bergerac (Gdrard Depardieu),perhaps a 17th-century incarnation c
length of his "nose" in the new film by Jean-Paul Rappeneau.
Cyrano de B. 'nose'

Cyrano de
Bergerac
dir. Jean-Paul
Rappeneau
by Mike Kuniavsky
There are very few instances when
a role fits an actor so well that you
cannot imagine anyone else in it:
Roy Schieder in All That Jazz,
Marion Brando in (what. else?) The
Godfather, Bob Denver in Gilli-
gan's Island and now, Gerard Depar-
dieu in Cyrano de Bergerac.
Now almost everyone knows the
story of Cyrano. An incredibly tal-
ented guy with a big nose who could
have any woman in Paris is madly
in love with his cousin, Roxane;
she's attracted to Cristian, the face
man who can't spell his own name,
but Roxane wants "a man with a
brain;" Cyrano, in his total adoration
of Roxane, agrees to fake Cristian's
literacy in exchange for the vicarious
pleasure of watching Roxane's en-
joyment. Full of fairytale-ish exag-
gerations and coincidences, the film
is about a very real and universal
topic, self-confidence. But it's si-
multaneously more than that. It's
about Gerard Depardieu.
With more than 80 films to his
name, Depardieu has singlehandedly
spawned his own genre (as many
filmgoers know, there are two kinds

of French film: those with Depardieu
and those without, and the former
seem to outnumber the latter by a
good five to one.) But it's more than
just Depardieu's physical presence.
All of his leading men have a very
distinctive quality: they're all poets
struggling to get out of big, bulky
bodies. In this sense, Cyrano is the
culmination of his characters. Possi-
bly for the first time in his career,
Depardieu seems completely in his
element. He's not playing a bum-
bling detective, a forlorn lover, a
misguided politician, or a die-hard
revolutionary; here, he is Cyrano.
The rest of the cast (Anne Bro-
chet as Roxane, Vincent Perez as
Cristian, Jacques Weber as the
Comte de Guiche) pales in compari-
son, which, arguably, is how it
should be. This is
Cyrano/Depardieu's vehicle; every-
one else is just there to keep the
story going.
Apart from the acting, the film
itself is incredibly well-made
(implying that the 20-some million
dollars it cost was judiciously
spent). There are beautifulvscenes at
almost every turn and every shot
seems meticulously composed,
which, in a way, is sort of unfortu-
nate, since non-francophones will
spend most of their time reading the
subtitles (which have been precisely
translated by Anthony Burgess, the
guy who, among other things, wrote

of David Lee Roth, implies the true
l'amour
A Clockwork Orange).
If the film has any faults, they've
been inherited from Edmond Ros-
tand's original play.Roxane's char-
acter, unlike the Steve Martin rendl*
tion where she is made into - liter-
ally - a rocket scientist, is flat and
uninteresting. Her whole purposein
the story is to be blind to the virtues
of Cyrano and to ignore the obvious
absurdity of her relationship with
Christian. This makes her a frustrat-
ing figure to watch, as you know
that she's never going to understand
what's going on, but you want he.
to so much.
The ending of the film, which I
won't give away, is also inherited
from Rostand and has the same
problem as in the play, in that it's
way too long. Rostand was ap-
parently unable to let go of the
Cyrano character, stretching what
should have been a couple of lines
(which would have been in character
with Cyrano's other dialogue) in(O
several pages of text.
These two points aside, thoughi,
the film is wonderful. It's got allgpf
the entertaining elements of the orig-
final tragedy with almost none ofti1e
faults (i.e. it's not boring). It looks
great, reads well, entertains And
teaches. In other words, film doesn't
get much better than this.
CYRANO DE BERGERAC is bein
shown at the Ann Arbor 1 & 2. -

i

Havana 3 A.M.
Havana 3 A.M.
I.R.S.

I'm sick of all this shit about rap
being a "singles medium." I mean,
yeah, sure, it is, but what about that
ol' time Rock 'N' Roll, baby, or
pop music in general, for that
matter? Case in point: Havana 3
A.M., the eponymous debut album
from a band centering around ex-
Clash bassist Paul Simenon, who
dropped out of the music scene to do
oil paintings after the band split up,
but not before he wrote the catchy
"The Guns of Brixton," about ten
years before it became a dance club
hit for the sub-talented Beats Interna-
tional (my litmus test for sub-talent
in the music world being the simple
question, "Could I have done that?"
with the answer in the case of "Dub
Be Good to Me" being yes, I could
take somebody else's song and read
my own stupid lyrics over it).
But anyway, back to the topic at
hand, which was rock as a singles
medium, with the case in point be-
ing, ironically enough, "Reach the
Rock," the first single from Havana
3 A.M. OK: heavy percussion, stan-
dard guitar riffs, raspy British vocals
from lead singer Nigel Dixon and

kind of an interesting arrangement: I
would listen to it again. Fine. But a
whole album of heavy percussion,
standard guitar riffs, raspy British
vocals, etc., etc., is, yeah, pretty
boring. The arrangements that once
seemed interesting soon become pre-
dictable, with the chorus always
kicking in like clockwork at about
the same time in every song.
And while the main flaw of the
album is its repetitiveness (along
with the fact that it's just not sleazy
enough for an album called Havana 3
A.M. - all of the sleaze seems very
forced, at any rate), some of the
songs are just plain bad. The acous-
tic opening to "What About Your
Future" made the song sound fright-
eningly enough like it was not only
going to be about the homeless, but
a homeless power ballad.
Lyrically, most of the album was
inoffensive, mainly echoing the
Clash's (best?/worst?) '50s Wild
One greaser fantasies, but some
lines were inexcusable. Take, for
instance, "Hole in the Sky": "There
is something we all need/clean air to
live and breathe/from a forest of
pain/cut down by men insane ..."
And no, sadly enough, this is not an
extremely cynical parody of pop cul-

ture's current 15-minute Earth Daze;
like Mssrs. Michael and Collins be-
fore them, the men of Havana ;3
A.M. were trying to make a serious
statement.
The only listenable songs arf,
not coincidentally, also the most dfs-
tinctive: the boys throw in screed-
ing tires, squealing guitars aio
breakneck rhythm when they're sing-
ing about Grand Theft Auto
("Joyride") and Mexican Horns ail
Spanish lyrics when they're singiu
about matadors ("Death in the Aft&.
noon"). "Hey Amigo," a Latin-fl a@
vored instrumental, also stands p t
because, well, it's a Latin-flavoj&I
instrumental.
I would have definitely included
those tracks on the Havana 3 A.M.
debut CD Maxi-Single if I were
Emporer of the Universe (a'cl
rightfully should be), excluding All
of the other filler and making itl.a
worthwhile record. But, sadlye
enough, I am not Emporer of the
Universe (yet), which has ultimately
resulted in Havana 3 A.M.'s first
effort landing somewhere in-between
Joe Strummer's self-indulgent guitar
masturbations and Mick Jones' bad
disco. Oh well.
-Mark Binelli

BLUES
Continued from page 5
highlights of that New York show
was the transition of Van Morrison's
"Gloria" into a free-form jam with
singer/harmonica player John Popper
trading scat licks with the sax
player, only to have the two eventu-
ally play simultaneously.
In addition to the covers they like
to play, like "Hey Joe" or "The Bat-

following release, which they plan
to record on the road. While their
first release was a catalog of the
songs they had been playing since
their inception in 1987, the upcom-
ing release will consist of material
they have written and performed in
the last year. Some of the titles, like
"What's For Breakfast" and the
acoustic guitar-based "Sweet Pain"
have been received just as well by
their audiences as the more recogniz-

"sometimes the crowds are so ready*
for anything," that when they begin
to play, everyone begins to dance
anyway. When the night is over,
they are left with a new pool of fqps
willing to pass on the band's nam;
BLUES TRAVELER will play .at
Rick's tonight. Cover is $7. Blues
Traveler also headlines the Eastern
Michigan University Rockfest In
Ypsilanti tommarow. From 7

::: EKU = U- k A ! - N I E:.:e : :T.:................Ull mN U 111''

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