Table of Contents



of the Desert

The British Empire



The Film (IMdb)

Opening lines:
Screen Play


"Most of you, I am sure, remember the tragic circumstances of the death of Geoffrey Clifton at Gilf Kebir, followed later by the disappearance of his wife, Katharine Clifton, which took place during the 1939 desert expedition in search of Zerzura...."

From the minutes of the Geographical Society meeting of November 194_, London

All quotes on these pages are from the novel,
"The English Patient," by Michael Ondaatje


Most of the pictures were either scanned or screen captured by me, or were screen captured by Meluchie and Sharon. A few were from the official Miramax page, scanned from magazines, or from video and book pages on the net. If I have used any that were not in the public domain, please let me know.


Opening Scene - The English Patient Screenplay:

SILENCE. THE DESERT seen from the air. An ocean of dunes for mile after mile. The late sun turns the sand every color from crimson to black. An old AEROPLANE is flying over the Sahara. Its shadow swims over the contours of sand. A woman's voice begins to sing unaccompanied on the track. Szerelem, szerelem, she cries, in a haunting lament for her loved one.

INSIDE the aeroplane are two figures. One, A WOMAN, seems to be asleep. Her pale head rests against the side of the cockpit. THE PILOT, a man, wears goggles and a leather helmet. He is singing, too, but we can't hear him or the plane or anything save the singer's plaintive voice. The plane shudders over a ridge. Beneath it A SUDDEN CLUSTER OF MEN AND MACHINES, camouflage nets draped over the sprawl of gasoline tanks and armored vehicles. An OFFICER, GERMAN, focuses his field glasses. The glasses pick out the MARKINGS on the plane. They are English. An ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUN swivels furiously. Shocking bursts of GUNFIRE. Explosions rock the plane, which lurches violently. THE WOMAN SLUMPS FORWARD, slamming her head against the instruments. The pilot grabs her, pulls her back, but she's not conscious. The fuel tank above their heads is punctured. It sprays them both, then EXPLODES.

THE MAN FALLS OUT OF THE SKY, clinging to his dead lover. The are both ON FIRE. She is wrapped in a parachute silk and it burns fiercely. He looks up to see the flames licking at his own parachute as it carries them slowly to earth. Even his helmet is on fire, but the man makes no sound as the flames erase all that matters - his name, his past, his face, his lover...