Study Guide

The English Patient Point of View

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Point of View

Now This Is A Story All About How His Plane Got Flipped, Turned Upside Down

And he'd like to take a minute (or almost 180 of them), so sit right there, and Almásy will tell you how he became—well, not the prince of a town called Bel Air—but the English patient.

Although the story at first seems to be about the young nurse, Hana, she quickly takes a backseat as her patient's plotline becomes the main thread of the movie. Sometimes a sound or a word or a name jogs something in her patient's memory, triggering a flashback that reveals more and more about his identity as the film goes on.

His flashback story of love and loss mirrors themes in the present-day story of love and loss from Hana's point of view. But Almásy is damaged—physically and emotionally—and stuck in the past. Hana is young and healthy. Her storyline is able to move forward into the future.

Often the cinematography conveys the flashbacks in clever ways. No cheesy wavy ripple effect here. Instead, clever cuts are used, like transitions from the gritty rolling sand dunes of the desert in the past to bunched up soft bedsheets in the present. These camera tricks not only illustrate how Almásy's memory works, but they provide contrast from the rough environments of the war-torn past and the more comforting location Almásy finds himself in as the war winds to a close.

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