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The English Patient (1996) Poster

Quotes

Katharine Clifton: My darling. I'm waiting for you. How long is the day in the dark? Or a week? The fire is gone, and I'm horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there'd be the sun. I'm afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words. We die. We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we've entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we've hidden in - like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you'll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That's what I've wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I'm writing in the darkness.

Hana: [reads Almásy's note on the firecracker] "Betrayals in war are childlike compared with our betrayals during peace. New lovers are nervous and tender, but smash everything. For the heart is an organ of fire." For the heart is an organ of fire.I love that. I believe that. K? Who is K?

Almásy: K is for Katharine.

Madox: I have to teach myself not to read too much into everything. It comes from too long having to read so much into hardly anything at all.

Almásy: Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again.

Almásy: What do you love?

Katharine Clifton: What do I love?

Almásy: Say everything.

Katharine Clifton: Hm, let's see... Water. Fish in it. And hedgehogs; I love hedgehogs.

Almásy: And what else?

Katharine Clifton: Marmite - I'm addicted. And baths. But not with other people. Islands. Your handwriting. I could go on all day.

Almásy: Go on all day.

Katharine Clifton: My husband.

Almásy: What do you hate most?

Katharine Clifton: A lie. What do you hate most?

Almásy: Ownership. Being owned. When you leave, you should forget me.

[she adopts a look of disgust, pushes him gently away to get out of the tub, picks up her tattered dress and leaves]

Katharine Clifton: Am I K in your book? I think I must be.

Katharine Clifton: You speak so many bloody languages, and you never want to talk.

Almásy: I just wanted you to know: I'm not missing you yet.

Katharine Clifton: You will.

Almásy: How can you ever smile, as if your life hadn't capsized?

Caravaggio: In Italy, you get chickens, but no eggs. In Africa there were always eggs, but... never chickens. Who separated them?

Almásy: There is no God... but I hope someone looks after you.

Madox: Just in case you're interested, it's called the suprasternal notch. Come and visit us in Dorset when all this nonsense is over.

[Heads away but turns back]

Madox: You'll never come to Dorset.

[Asked what he hates most]

Almásy: Ownership. I hate being owned.

Almásy: I once traveled with a guide who was taking me to Faya. He didn't speak for nine hours. At the end of it he pointed at the horizon and said, "Faya!" That was a good day.

Katharine Clifton: Promise me you'll come back for me.

Almásy: I promise, I'll come back for you. I promise, I'll never leave you.

Almásy: There is no God, but I hope someone watches over you.

Katharine Clifton: Will we be alright?

Almásy: Yes. Yes, absolutely.

Katharine Clifton: "Yes" is a comfort. "Absolutely" is not.

Almásy: You're wearing the thimble.

Katharine Clifton: Of course, you idiot. I always wear it; I've always worn it; I've always loved you.

Katharine Clifton: This - what is this?

Almásy: It's a folk song.

Katharine Clifton: Arabic.

Almásy: No, no. It's Hungarian. My daijka sang it to me when I was a child growing up in Budapest.

Katharine Clifton: It's beautiful. What's it about?

Almásy: Szerelam means love. And the story, well, there's this Hungarian count. He's a wanderer. He's a fool. And for years he's on some kind of a quest for... who knows what. And then one day, he falls under the spell of a mysterious English woman. A harpy, who beats him, and hits him, he becomes her slave, and he sews her clothes, and worships...

[Katharine starts hitting him]

Almásy: Stop it! Stop it! You're always beating me!

Katharine Clifton: Bastard! You bastard, I believed you! You should be my slave.

Almásy: When were you most happy?

Katharine Clifton: Now.

Almásy: And when were you least happy?

Katharine Clifton: Now.

Almásy: I fear Madox knows about us, he keeps mentioning Anna Karenina

Almásy: This... this, the hollow at the base of a woman's throat, does it have an official name?

Madox: Good God, man, pull yourself together.

Katharine Clifton: Do you think you are the only one who feels anything?

Almásy: I once heard of a captain who wore a patch over a good eye. The men fought harder for him.

Almásy: New lovers are nervous and tender, but smash everything. For the heart is an organ of fire.

Almásy: [being carried up the stairs] There was a Prince, who was dying, and he was carried up the tower at Pisa so he could die with a view of the Tuscan Hills. Am I that Prince?

Hana: [laughs] Because you're leaning? No, you're just on an angle. You're too heavy!

Almásy: Could I have a cigarette?

Hana: [laughing] Are you crazy?

Almásy: Why... why are you so determined to keep me alive?

Hana: Because I'm a nurse.

Katharine Clifton: [dancing] Why did you follow me yesterday?

Almásy: I'm sorry, what?

Katharine Clifton: After the market, you followed me to the hotel.

Almásy: I was concerned. A woman in that part of Cairo, a European woman, I felt obliged to.

Katharine Clifton: [amused] You felt obliged to?

Almásy: As the wife of one of our party.

Katharine Clifton: So why follow me? Escort me, by all means, but following me is predatory, isn't it?

Almásy: Let me tell you about winds. There is a, a whirlwind from southern Morrocco, the aajej, against which the fellahin defend themselves with knives. And there is the... the ghibli, from Tunis...

Katharine Clifton: [giggling] The "ghibli"?

Almásy: [smiling]

  • the ghibli, which rolls and rolls and rolls and produces a... a rather strange nervous condition. And then there is the... the harmattan, a red wind, which mariners call the sea of darkness. And red sand from this wind has flown as far as the south coast of England, apparently producing... showers so dense that they were mistaken for blood.


Katharine Clifton: Fiction! We have a house on that coast and it has never, never rained blood.

Almásy: No, it's all true. Herodotus, your friend. He writes about it. And he writes about... a, a wind, the simoon, which a nation thought was so evil they declared war on it and marched out against it. In full battle dress. Their swords raised.

Almásy: Swoon, I'll catch you.

Almásy: It is a very plum plum.

Caravaggio: Ask your saint who he is. Ask him who he's killed.

Katharine Clifton: I'm impressed you can sew.

Almásy: Good.

Katharine Clifton: You sew very badly.

Almásy: Well, you don't sew at all.

Katharine Clifton: A woman should never learn to sew, and if she can she shouldn't admit to it.

Almásy: I am a just a bit of toast, my friend.

Katharine Clifton: I wanted to meet the man who could write such a long paper with so few adjectives.

Hana: There's a man downstairs. He brought us eggs. He might stay.

Almásy: Why? Can he lay eggs?

Hana: He's Canadian.

Almásy: Why are people always so happy when they collide with someone from the same place? What happened in Montreal when you passed a man in the street? Did you invite him to live with you?

Caravaggio: You're in love with him, aren't you? Your poor patient. You think he's a saint because of the way he looks? I don't think he is.

Hana: I'm not in love with him. I'm in love with ghosts. So is he, he's in love with ghosts.

Muller: You are a Canadian spy working for the Allies. Code-name Moose.

Muller: [interrogating Caravaggio] Look here, for every name you give me, I'll let you keep a finger. You give me something, and you'll keep something.

Caravaggio: Don't cut me.

Muller: Are thumbs fingers?

[to Lieutenant]

Muller: Ist ein Daumen ein Finger?

Interrogation Room Soldier: [phone rings] Telefon.

Muller: I'm sick of this room. I'm sick of this heat! And I'm sick of this damn telephone!

[hangs it up]

Hana: [crying, her face a frozen mask] I must be a curse. Anybody who loves me, anybody who gets close to me... or I must be cursed. Which is it?

Katharine Clifton: D'you not come in?

Almásy: No. I should go home.

Katharine Clifton: Will you please come in?

Almásy: Mrs. Clifton...

Katharine Clifton: [scowls] Don't.

Almásy: I believe you still have my book.

Hana: The war's over - you told me yourself. How can it be desertion?

Oliver: It's not over everywhere. I didn't mean literally.

Hana: [looking at Almasy] When he dies I'll catch up.

Oliver: [looking over the small cache of provisions] It's not safe here. The whole country's crawling with Bandits and Germans and God knows what. It's madness. I can't allow it. You're not alright, this is natural. It's shock. For all of us. Hana?

Hana: [bent] I need morphine. A lot. And a pistol.

Oliver: [clutching at straws, about Almasy] And what if he really is a spy?

Hana: [impatient] He can't even move!

Oliver: If anything happened to you I'd never forgive myself.

[as Hana nods and smiles]

Oliver: ... We're heading for Leghorn. Livorno the Italians call it. We'll expect you.

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