The English Patient (1996)


Ralph Fiennes / Kristin Scott Thomas / Juliette Binoche / Willem Dafoe / Naveen Andrews / Colin Firth / Kevin Whately / Julian Wadham / Jürgen Prochnow / From the novel by Michael Ondaatje / Screenplay Adaptation by Anthony Minghella / Original Soundtrack  Gabriel Yared / Art Director  Aurelio Crugnola / Cinematography  John Seale / Editor  Walter Murch /   Producer Saul Zentz / Director  Anthony Minghella

‘For the heart is an organ of fire.’

‘There is a whirlwind in southern Morocco, the aajej, against which the fellahin defend themselves with knives. There is the africo, which has at times reached into the city of Rome. The alm, a fall wind out of Yugoslavia. The arifi, also christened aref or rifi, which scorches with numerous tongues. These are permanent winds that live in the present tense.

There are other, less constant winds that change direction, that can knock down horse and rider and realign themselves anticlockwise. The bist roz leaps into Afghanistan for 170 days–burying villages. There is the hot, dry ghibli from Tunis, which rolls and rolls and produces a nervous condition. The haboob—a Sudan dust storm that dresses in bright yellow walls a thousand metres high and is followed by rain. The harmattan, which blows and eventually drowns itself into the Atlantic. Imbat, a sea breeze in North Africa. Some winds that just sigh towards the sky. Night dust storms that come with the cold. The khamsin, a dust in Egypt from March to May, named after the Arabic word for ‘fifty,’ blooming for fifty days–the ninth plague of Egypt. The datoo out of Gibraltar, which carries fragrance.

There is also the ——, the secret wind of the desert, whose name was erased by a king after his son died within it. And the nafhat–a blast out of Arabia. The mezzar-ifoullousen–a violent and cold southwesterly known to Berbers as ‘that which plucks the fowls.’ The beshabar, a black and dry northeasterly out of the Caucasus, ‘black wind.’ The Samiel from Turkey, ‘poison and wind,’ used often in battle. As well as the other ‘poison winds,’ the simoom, of North Africa, and the solano, whose dust plucks off rare petals, causing giddiness.. Other, private winds.

From Michael Ondaatje’s ‘The English Patient’

‘The king insisted that he would find some way to prove beyond dispute that his wife was the fairest of all women..

‘..and although she said nothing.. she shuddered.’

‘Escort me, by all means.. but following me is predatory, isn’t it?’

‘K.. is for Katherine..’

‘I can’t work.. Say you’re feeling faint.. the heat.. swoon.. I’ll catch you.’

‘Szerelem means love.’

‘You should be my slave.’

‘What’s the name of this place?’

‘..I want this place.’

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