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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Looking Back: Cinema's Greatest Moments: THE ENGLISH PATIENT (1996)


The English Patient (1996).


Why do we love a great film so much? What makes a great film? Before a film is made there is only the concept of it, a dream of a story brought to life. With time what follows the individual filmmaker’s dream as it becomes realized into a film, it grows beyond the filmmaker’s personal vision and becomes the dream of all who are involved in its making. And further, if that film lives and thrives over the years it becomes myth-like, a living symbol of part of the collective unconscious. ‘The English Patient’ is such a film. When I see this film again and again over the years, it never changes and yet it always seems different. Why? Because I’ve changed. Because when I watch this film I not only see the film itself but layers of meaning and all the experiences I have lived over the years since the last time I saw it. In many ways, this film acts as a symbol in my own life, for the chapters in it that began and ended since the first time I saw it and the last and for each moment in my life that I would recall fragments of the film and its music to mind, a weave between my own personal experience and this archetype of a living symbol, this marked history, this movie myth which lives on for so many and is indeed a ‘cinema’s greatest moment’.

-Written by Vanessa McMahon



Quotes from the film:

Almasy: ‘When were you most happy?’ Katherine: 'Now.' Almasy: 'When were you least happy?' Katherine: 'Now.'

Almasy: 'New Lovers smash everything. For their heart is an organ of fire.'

Almasy: ‘I claim this part.' He touched her suprasternal notch, the dip of her neck. ‘The Almasy Bosphorus.’

Katherine: ‘This is a different world I tell myself. A different life. And here I am a different wife.’

Almasy: 'Don't go anywhere. I'll be back. I'll be back.' 


Quotes from the book:

“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.”
― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

“I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography - to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.”
― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

“All I ever wanted was a world without maps.”
― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

“...the heart is an organ of fire.”
― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient


(1996), Nominated for 12 Academy Awards and winner of 9 Academy Awards

Directed by: Anthony Minghella; Produced by: Saul Zaentz; Screenplay by: Anthony Minghella; Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristen Scott Thomas, Naveen Andrews, Colin Firth; Music by: Gabriel Yared.


1996 Academy Awards[1][7]
▪ Won, Best Picture
▪ Won, Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Juliette Binoche
▪ Won, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan)
▪ Won, Best Cinematography (John Seale)
▪ Won, Best Costume Design (Ann Roth)
▪ Won, Best Director (Anthony Minghella)
▪ Won, Best Film Editing (Walter Murch)
▪ Won, Best Original Score (Gabriel Yared)
▪ Won, Best Sound (Walter Murch, Mark Berger, David Parker, and Christopher Newman)
▪ Nominated, Best Actor in a Leading Role: Ralph Fiennes
▪ Nominated, Best Actress in a Leading Role: Kristin Scott Thomas
Nominated, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Anthony Minghella)




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