The English Patient, based on novel by Michael Ondaatje, screenplay and directed by Anthony Minghella
The English Patient might be one of the rare cases where the motion picture is better than the original material.
The film has won an unbelievable umber of Academy Awards, BAFTAs and surprisingly only two Golden Globes…
The English Patient has won nine Oscars for:
Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Costume Design, Best Music, Best Cinematography and more
Of course, the movie has detractors and this cinephile can understand that, considering the novel did not thrill him…
“[Elaine and Peterman are watching "The English Patient". Elaine is about to freak out of boredom]
Elaine Benes: [quietly] No. I cannot do this anymore. I cannot. It is too long.
Elaine Benes: [yells] quit telling your stupid story about the stupid desert, and just die already! DIE!
J. Peterman: [surprised] Elaine, you don't like the movie?
Elaine Benes: [shouts] I hate it!”
In addition, maybe this amusing character from Seinfeld even said: “die already” if that is not a case of bad memory.
The story is complicated, beautifully filmed, with superb costumes, fantastic shots of the desert…
Ralph Fiennes is memorable as The English Patient aka Count Almasy, the epitome of the romantic hero.
At the start of the film, he is incapacitated and about to die after a plane accident in which he was severely burned.
Hana is the nurse who feels pity for him and decides to stop in a monastery to reduce his suffering in his last few days.
She may even have to euthanize him, but the fate of the patient aka hero is clear from the very start.
What is not evident, in the early scenes is who this burned patient is, because he suffers from amnesia, on top of all his other ailments.
Gradually though, a story of love, betrayal, collusion with the enemy, romantic expeditions are revealed.
Count Almasy fell in love with Katharine Clifton aka Kristin Scott Thomas, married to Geoffrey aka Colin Firth.
Many adventures make this film so rewarding and sophisticated, with the present and past moving their narratives in parallel frescoes.
Caravaggio aka this year’s nominee for an Academy Award- Willem Dafoe appears on the stage, with Kip, Madox, Major Muller and other personages that are involved in turn in horror scenes, like the one where David has his thumbs cut off, or when Geoffrey crash lands a plane and many romantic moments, during the sand storm, or in the bath, when the lovers exchange information on what they like or hate most…
A man who has suffered because of his decision to join the Nazis wants the English Patient.
However, his choice appears to be more of a fateful disaster that falls upon the man who has to abandon his love in the desert.
Not in the sense of just walking away from her, but trying to bring in help, only to be denied it and resorting to the only alternative left, since all he cares for in the world is in a cave and the rest of the planet may go to pieces without her…
This can remind one of a short story by Thomas Mann, wherein a character is sure that love and friendship exist only in literature- there were no films at the time- and even if men and women keep saying…
I love you…there are no words to express that…the personage says that in fact these words have a meaning with no correspondent in real life…only in the art world…
We could think of this ultimate romantic hero…Almasy, who would go to the end of the earth for his lover.
The English Patient is a phenomenal masterpiece.
PS- there is also the beautiful Caudales and Gyges story inside…