Beginning in the 1930's, "The English Patient" tells the story of Count Almásy who is a Hungarian map maker employed by the Royal Geographical Society to chart the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert along with several other prominent explorers. As World War II unfolds, Almásy enters into a world of love, betrayal, and politics that is later revealed in a series of flashbacks while Almásy is on his death bed after being horribly burned in a plane crash. Written by
Anthony Hughes <email@example.com>
The character name, 'Kip', apparently was Michael Ondaatje's nickname at school. This was a reference to cooking oil stains on his exercise books which reminded the wags among his fellow pupils of kipper fish which were canned in such oil. See more »
German paratroops did not land via parachute in North Africa until late 1942. The fall of Tobruk was in summer 1942. Also, the German paratroopers are shown descending with a kit bag attached by a line to one leg. This was a British and American technique, not used by the Germans. See more »
In Italy, you get chickens, but no eggs. In Africa there were always eggs, but... never chickens. Who separated them?
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The producer and director wish to thank The Tozeur District Governor. See more »
'The English Patient' can rightly be compared to the films of David Lean, whose sweeping epics such as 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Bridge on the River Kwai' must have inspired the director Anthony Minghella. The film is beautifully photographed, and like 'Lawrence', is set in Northern Africa, but during the second world war. The story is complex, but it boils down to a forbidden love between an opinionated and often difficult archeologist played by Ralph Fiennes and a married woman played by Kristin Scott Thomas.
The story, based on a novel by Michael Ondaatje, is told in flashbacks by Fiennes' Count Laszlo de Almasy - the titular character. The fact that his name does not sound like he's English plays a key role in what unfolds. He has been badly burned in a plane crash, occurring just as the film opens, and is being cared for back in Europe by Hana, an army nurse played by Juliette Binoche. What makes this story epic is the vast sweep across place and time, and the development of characters beyond that of the two ill-fated lovers. The film makes clear that true love and passion, even with dreaded consequences, can make life worth living, or worth dying for. If you're a romantic at heart, and can appreciate a film without the standard happy endings and simple moral codes, you may find that 'The English Patient' speaks directly to you.
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