Celebrated French director and screenwriter who has been known to take five years or more in between projects and who, while being a national treasure in his native land, does not seem concerned that directors less acclaimed in France have a greater international profile. Jean-Paul Rappeneau began to be a name dropped by cineastes in the U.S. only after his heralded adaptation of de Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1990), and his "The Horseman on the Roof" (1995), which told of heroics during a cholera epidemic. Although he directed a few short films in the late 1950s, Rappeneau broke into motion picture work as Louis Malle's screenplay collaborator on "Zazie/Zazie in the Underground" (1960), an adaptation of a tale about an 11-year old who goes to Paris to visit with her female impersonator uncle and desperately wants a chance to ride le Metro. Rappeneau again collaborated with Malle on "La Vie privee/A Very Private Affair" (1961), about an actress having an affair with her best friend's husband. With Ariane Mnouchkine, Daniel Boulanger, and Phillipe de Broca, Rappeneau co-wrote the James Bond spoof "That Man From Rio" (1964), which earned an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. Directing began in 1967 with "La Vie de chateau/A Matter of Resistance," which Rappeneau also wrote with Daniel Boulanger, Alain Cavalier, and Claude Sautet. It was the story of a bored housewife who welcomes the German soldiers into her Normandy town prior to D-Day. The film starred Catherine Deneuve, as did "Lovers Like Us" (1975), in which she was teamed with Yves Montand in a globe-trotting screwball comedy. His 1990 "Cyrano" is considered by some critics to be the definitive screen version of the classic play. Starring Gerard Depardieu, Rappeneau took some unlikely chances, such as staging the key balcony scene in a light rain. Rappeneau also wrote the screenplay with Jean-Claude Carriere.