Monthly Archives: June 2013

The English Patient

“We die.

We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we’ve entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we’ve hidden in – like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you’ll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That’s what I’ve wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I’m writing in the darkness.”

K writes to her lover Almásy, waiting in a cave for him to come back and rescue her. She has just realised he might be too late to save her. The husband, the pilot, has died in a suicidal plane crash, in which she was a part of and was the second of the three targets(The third being Almásy himself). Almásy is unhurt and takes her to a cave, which has drawings of swimming figures; and, leaves after promising to return to rescue her.

The Husband loves her. More importantly – trusts her. When he finds out about he the affair she is having with Almásy, it shatters him.

Almásy, who hates ownership plunges deep into the ravines of a woman’s Love. Unable to own her and after she ends the affair, unable to bear the pain asks her, “How can you ever smile, as if your life hadn’t capsized?”.

After the crash, Almásy, after dropping her off at the cave with swimming figures, after promising to come back, is caught by the British, who think he is a spy.

Ultimately, he betrays the British and hands over the maps, all important maps, crucial to wartime efforts, to the Germans, in exchange for a plane to fly back to the cave to rescue his darling. Is betrayal really betrayal if it means you can hold your end of the promise to the woman you love?

Katherine is still there, but only in her letters to the Count.

The English Patient is Cinema at its best. I’ve been aching to watch it ever since I heard of it in an episode in Seinfeld. I am livid with myself for delaying the watching of this magnificent picture.

It transports you to a world you had seen in movies and paintings, but had never felt. The passion of the love between Katherine and her lover, eclipses that of the husband. You would think that there’d never be a reason good enough to betray your side in a war; you’d think there’d never be a good enough reason for a wife to cheat on her loving, caring husband. This movie works because it elevates the characters from the reel to the world of you and me, without you even noticing it.

Katherine in her final moments writes to her lover:

“My darling. I’m waiting for you.

How long is the day in the dark? Or a week? The fire is gone, and I’m horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there’d be the sun. I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words.

We die.

We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we’ve entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we’ve hidden in – like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you’ll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That’s what I’ve wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I’m writing in the darkness.”

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