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The cinematic adaptation of Ondaatje’s The English Patient: motifs, reflections and criticism

Alexandru ISTUDOR


The paper provides a critical interpretation of The English Patient, both the movie and Michael Ondaatje’s novel. Comparing the movie and the original text, the author looks for the reconfigurations that take place in representation of the novel into the visual language. The author searches for references in Herodotus, Boccaccio and in other books that make up the Western canon, while describing the inter-textual level of discourse of the novel within the Hollywood production canons. Having as the main focus the postcolonial discourse of the novel and its disappearance in the entire film, the paper shows how political discourses generate narrative transformations. Developing a critical reception of the fictionalized works, the paper identifies the “moral message”, “responsibility”, “influence” as key elements in any contemporary fiction productions.

Keywords: The English Patient, critical interpretation of movies and novels, Michael Ondaatje, political discourse in cinema