The English Patient | 1996
Set in North Africa and Italy during the late 1930's and early '40's, "The English Patient" is an epic drama of two haunting love stories that unfolds against a background of international upheaval. Through the prism of war, and of love and friendship, various themes -- of fidelity, adultery, nationality and betrayals -- are dramatized and explored. The story, based on Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel, is told elliptically, through the histories of four characters who find themselves in a ruined monastery in Italy at the end of World War II. Slowly they reveal themselves and, in the process, the true identity of the English patient -- the unknown survivor of a plane shot down over the Sahara who lies dying in the monastery -- is made clear. Passion fires these stories, whether it is the raw passion between lovers, or the compulsive passion which drives men to explore remote and inhospitable regions, or to pursue across time and countries those they think have wronged them.