W: Anthony Minghella [based on the novel by
DP: John Seale
Ed: Walter Murch
Mus: Gabriel Yared
PD: Stuart Craig
Cos: Ann Roth
Ralph Fiennes (Count László
Almasy), Kristin Scott-Thomas (Katherine Clifton), Juliette Binoche (Hana), Naveen Andrews (Kip), Willem Dafoe (Caravaggio), Colin Firth (Geoffrey
The English Patient is a David Lean-esque wartime
romance which went on to sweep the 1996 Oscars, winning 9 awards in all.
Ralph Fiennes plays Almasy, a Hungarian mapmaker
and pilot shot down over enemy lines during the conflict and burned unrecognisable.
Suffering from amnesia, the hospitals incorrectly
list him as English and give him little time left to live. He is cared for by Canadian nurse Hana, who reads to him from his memoirs and helps him remember his doomed love affair with
the wife of one of his colleagues.
Based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje, the film
appears to omit some information which leave some questions unanswered, such as Willem Dafoe's character, a morphine-addicted thief who turns up and drifts out for a reason left far
The film focuses mostly on luscious desert
photography, rich production design and impeccable costumes.
Whilst the story is complex and intricate, the
flawless performances and vast scale of Anthony Minghella's sweeping direction carry the film.
Many will enjoy this, but an equal amount will
also wonder how it won so many prestigious awards. It's probably important to have seen some of David Lean's films to fully appreciate this, especially Lawrence Of Arabia and Brief
Encounter, since the story loosely merges both for something astonishingly breathtaking.