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English Patient

Updated November 1, 2018

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English Patient essay

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English Patient The English Patient, directed by Anthony Minghella, is a romantic, melodramatic film which defines the art of cinematography. The internal and external rhythms, lighting, camera angles, lenses, music, dialogue, and editing are displayed in a way which conveys the meanings and themes to the viewer in such a clear and efficient manner. Due to this fine exhibition, it is of the belief that film schools should use this piece of artwork as a guide to students who wish to learn what cinematography actually is. So poetically did this phenomenal cast tell the story based on Michael Ondaatje’s novel, that after each viewing , a greater love, understanding, respect and admiration arose without any signs of boredom. One of the numerous themes of The English Patient is the troubles, hardships and ever lasting negative emotions that war causes.

It tells us that: even if one is lucky enough to escape the war without physical wounds, emotionally there is no escaping its impact. All of the main characters undergo some sort of pain as a result of the war between the Axis and Ally forces. The protagonist, Count Laszlo Almasy, a Hungarian cartographer, perhaps has been struck the hardest of any. Almasy is rescued from his plane after it is shot down and is soon mistaken for an English soldier. However, his troubles continue as his body is burnt from head to toe leaving the majority of his body immobile.

Almasy is dependent on heavy doses of morphine in order to temporarily relieve him of the excruciating pain that he suffers from. Also, if that isn’t enough, Almasy fails to save the life of Katherine Clifton, a woman who he loves so dearly. Hana, the British nurse caring for Almasy, fortunately gets through the war without any physical damage. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the emotional impact that she suffers from. At times, the pain is so severe that Hana wishes death upon herself.

The diligent Nurse feels as if everyone she has ever loved eventually leaves her. Hana has the horrifying experience of seeing through her very own eyes the death of her companion Jenny during an automobile explosion. In addition, Hana’s job requires her to care for war wounded, dying patients who rely on solely hope to survive. Hana sheds some light on the situation when she meets, and perhaps falls in love with, the intellectual Indian bomb specialist, Kip. However, as the war moves on and nears its end, Kip must transfer positions leaving Hana alone with only Almasy and Caravaggio. This sudden departure is just one of the several disappointments Hana faces.

Minghella outlines this negative theme throughout the film by displaying numerous tragedies. There exists a parallel between this film and Enrique Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front as both show the horrors of war. However, differences lie in the fact that Remarque’s novel took place during World War I and was a factual retelling. On the other hand, The English Patient was based on a novel that set during World War II. It is of the opinion that although The English Patient is a fictitious piece of work, the style in which it was filmed made the viewers feel that it was as real if not more realistic than Remarque’s novel/movie.

This was accomplished with the remarkable cinematography involved in the making of this film. Another theme of the film is that of love and romance. These two themes are repeatedly brought out by the actions of the characters. The most illustrious example of this lies in the relationship between Count Laszlo Almasy and Katherine Clifton. Almasy first encounters Clifton, in the desert where they flirtatiously argue about the use of adjectives in literature. Almasy later sees Mrs.

Clifton in an outdoor market in Cairo where Almasy shows his affection towards her for the first time. These feelings are become evident through their powerful dialogue. Later, Clifton confronts Almasy about him following her home after leaving the market during a slow dancing at a formal affair. The married Clifton, at first reluctant to have any sexual relationship with Almasy, later finds herself unable to resist temptation and soon falls in love with the obsessed Almasy. The handsome Almasy shows his love towards Clifton in many ways including walking for days across the deserts of Cairo hoping to find a doctor who can save the wounded Clifton. The film extrapolates on their relationship by showing numerous sexual interactions between the two.

The love scenes displayed are intense and intellectual rather than explicit. This was done in order to allow the entire audience to benefit from its beauty rather than be offended. Perhaps the most dramatic of these scenes takes place on Christmas in Cairo in the courtyard of the British Embassy. This scene was extremely significant, and perhaps even climatic, as we see Almasy and Katherine Clifton passionately sexually interact for the second time. The scene commences when the screen shows the British soldiers sitting at a long table in an open courtyard.

Katherine walks over to a window on one of the walls. This window isn’t made of glass, but rather possesses metal bars. Inside the Embassy, on the other side of the window is Count Almasy. The camera pans as Katherine walks over to the window at which point Almasy tells Katherine of his plan to get her alone. The camera cuts back and forth between the two.

At this point, a telephoto lens is used to concentrate the viewers’ attention on Katherine and Almasy and their dialogue rather than on the background events taking place. Music from an orquestra is heard. The music is soft and displays a happy theme as the soldiers celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ The bars on the window are also extremely significant as they are representative of a force keeping Katherine and Almasy away from each other. Almasy stands behind the window with a shadow casted on his head from metal bars. The bars, running perpendicular to each other, cast a shadow in the shape of a cross. An ironic twist comes as a result of many things. First, there are two Christians planning to commit adultery.

This is both a crime and sin in the Christian religion. It is also ironic that it is the holiest of holidays, …

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English Patient. (2018, Nov 07). Retrieved from