Study Guide

The English Patient Director

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The English Patient is written and directed by Anthony Minghella.

A burned mapmaker. A Civil War soldier trying to find his way home. A female detective in Botswana. And a monstrous man named Ripley.

These are all leading men in films by Anthony Minghella. Like producer Saul Zaentz, Anthony Minghella was a king of literary adaptations. After writing and directing The English Patient in 1997, Minghella went on to adapt The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Cold Mountain (2003), and the TV Series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (2008).

When Zaentz tapped Minghella to adapt Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel, Minghella had a daunting task: to translate Ondaatje's lyrical prose into a (relatively) straightforward cinematic narrative. Minghella focused on the book's strong imagery… which accounts for the stupendously beautiful shots found in The English Patient.

Trivia time: Minghella actually broke his ankle shortly before the film began shooting, and spent most of its production on crutches. But hey, that's still better than being burned alive and lying helpless in bed like the film's title character. Minghella's blood, sweat, and tears paid off, and he won a Best Director Academy Award for The English Patient. Minghella died in 2008. (Source)

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