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>
Ralph Fiennes' burn make-up took 5 hours to apply every day. Fiennes insisted that the full body make-up be applied even for the scenes where only his head would be filmed. See more »
In the first scene with the plane flying over sand dunes: the shadow of the wing on the plane, the shadow of the plane on the dunes, and the shadows cast by the dunes themselves suggest three different positions for the sun. The shadows of the dunes also change length and direction when the camera angle changes to behind the plane in the next shot. See more »
This... this, the hollow at the base of a woman's throat, does it have an official name?
Good God, man, pull yourself together.
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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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