The English Patient Essay

1461 Words 6 Pages

Count Lazlo Almasy, the English Patient, is a man in an Imperial time and world. The people in this world live by Imperial rules and perpetuate Imperial stereotypes. The film takes place in World War II era Africa, and as the film portrays it, in the mysterious and exotic Sahara desert and in Cairo, Egypt. Count Almasy’s character lives in the desert among imperial explorers and in the desert environment full of natives who bring to life classic stereotypes full of ignorance and white prevalence and power. Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, authors of Unthinking Eurocentrism, believe that the Imperial attitudes that the British government and the Western imperial society initiated, continue today and are alive in the cinema. The film, “The
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This newfound technology of film was just another way for the empire to spread its ideas and power over the world; “…the culture of empire authorized the pleasure of seizing ephemeral glimpses of its ‘margins’ through travel and tourism” (102). It reaches the young boys through film and through romantic and exotic images excites the lust for adventure and power that seem to be inherent in a young boy’s DNA. Another main point of the chapter is that the romance that is usually associated with the native peoples of the colony, the environment, and the colonizer taming both serves as further stimulus for the imperial drive; “…romance provided empire with its aura of nobility” (101). All of these ideas can be seen to some extent in “The English Patient”, especially in the character of the Count Almasy, who is especially alluring to the viewer with his mysterious qualities.

The character of Count Almasy, the explorer, member of The International Sand Club, and archaeologist mapmaker is a very alluring one to the imperial eye. On the surface, he is a British citizen who is along for the adventure and romance of an exploration into the African desert. If one looks at Count Almasy through the eyes of Stam and Shohat, he is the perfect magnet for the young impressionable boy. They say that this adventure in the desert that Almasy is a part of belongs to a genre of “adventure films and the ‘adventure’ of going to the Cinema, [that] provide[s] a vicarious