Beyazıt AKMAN


The English Patient, one of the seven movies that won the most Academy Awards in movie history, has naturally been subject to many studies in literature and film. Although the movie has mostly been acclaimed by movie critics and audiences, its loyalty to the original work has much been questioned since the movie was based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje. However, it cannot be said that much has been written regarding the movie’s Orientalist undertones. The radical change of perspective from the novel to the movie in this particular regard is so striking as to change the themes of the original text that it deserves attention on its own terms. Therefore, in this article I contrast the movie to the novel by arguing that Minghella, the director, follows the age-old Orientalist tradition in his (mis)representation of the Near East; of Muslim Culture, and of Arabs, whereas Ondaatje, the novelist, deconstructs this very stereotypical narrative about the East. Whereas the author of the novel takes apart the official history in a puzzling fluidity of nations and selves, the director reconstructs history back to its Eurocentric context. By also looking at the movie criticism published in the industry’s major venues, I try to demonstrate a culture of Orientalism in the promotion of the movie that goes well beyond the discussion of a single work.

Anahtar Kelimeler

Postcolonial studies; film studies; The English Patient; comparative literature; English literature and culture.

Tam Metin:

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.