Who doesn’t love a good blockbuster? Big budgets, thrilling action, and entertaining set pieces will continue to drive audiences to the movies, and for good reason. However, cinema art can also provide us with great moments that capture our curiosity and spark our imagination. In fact, some of the most critically acclaimed movies of all-time, and many Academy Award® winners, could be labeled as “cinema art.”
So, what is “cinema art?” Frequently produced and distributed outside the major studio system on a relatively small budget, cinema art movies typically handle serious matters in an artistic and often experimental way, geared towards more of a niche market rather than for a mass audience. In an artform where social realism takes precedence, on-location filming is favored over studio sets and sometimes amateur actors are even used.
Stretching back to the origin of movies, the genre has provided some of the most recognizable and talented filmmakers in cinema who have put their uncompromising visions onto the screen with a unique flare and style that is all their own. Foreign language movies are also included in this genre, recognizable by many of the same features with the addition of subtitles, although rarely referred to as “cinema art” in their respective countries. Instead, they are more commonly known as “auteur” or “national” cinema, the former originally coined in France to distinguish filmmakers of the French New Wave (a movement and form of European cinema art from the 1950s and 1960s).
Below are a few cinema art movies to keep an eye on this week as they debut in select Regal theatres nationwide:
CYRANO, MY LOVE
Genre: Comedy, Drama, History
Runtime: 1hr 52min
Starring: Thomas Solivérès, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, Tom Leeb
Directed By: Alexis Michalik
Written By: Alexis Michalik
In 1897 Paris, a young playwright who has not written in two years, Edmond Rostand, offers a heroic comedy written in verse for the holidays to the great Constant Coquelin. Rostand, not yet thirty but with two children, must overcome his anxieties and ignore the whims of the actresses, demands of his Corsican producers, his wife’s jealousy, his best friend’s relationship problems, and the lack of enthusiasm and belief of those all around him to write a masterpiece in only three weeks. For now, he only has the title—Cyrano de Bergerac.
Edmond Rostand was a French poet and dramatist associated with neo-romanticism. His best-known play, Cyrano de Bergerac, is a fictionalization that loosely follows the life of the man for whom the play was named. Writer/director Alexis Michalik first came up with the idea of turning this real-life story into a movie after watching Shakespeare in Love at the cinema in 1999. Two years later the idea returned after coming across an information booklet explaining the circumstances surrounding ‘première’ of Cyrano. “I said to myself that it was unbelievable that nobody had ever thought to tell the greatest ‘success story’ of French theater,” says Michalik. Cyrano, My Love has experienced a long road to the big screen, including a rewrite for the stage that led to the filmmakers finding the budget they needed to finance the movie.
Thomas Solivérès takes on the lead role of the real-life Edmond Rostand. “It’s crazy because since I began acting,” says Solivérès, “I don’t really know why, but I have always dreamed about acting in a biographical film.” Solivérès is the perfect age to play Rostand, but he soon found they shared much more than just a number. “But having studied in detail the personality of Cyrano’s author and knowing myself as well as I do,” says Solivérès, “I can see that we have a lot in common: fear of failure, lack of self-esteem, having high standards at work, a great tendency to daydream, etc.” These shared traits allowed the actor to attach himself to the role in a natural way. “He became familiar to me straight away,” says Solivérès. “To really become him, I put a lot of myself into the role.”