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Abstract

Hsuan Hsu, in his paper "Post-Nationalism and the Cinematic Apparatus in Minghella's Adaptation of Ondaatje's The English Patient," discusses Anthony Minghella's cinematic version of Ondaatje's novel. In Hsu's view, Minghella and Ondaatje (Ondaatje collaborated on the film script) emphasize in the film the visual and social implications of mapmaking in order to align imperialism with the cinematic apparatus. While the film explores the workings of visual power, it also explores their adulteration by unmapped forces of desire: Almásy's and Katherine's adulterous relationship transgresses marital and national constraints, but also reinscribes them when Almásy desires to possess her body and Katherine dies immobilized looking at illuminated pictures in a cave. However, the film's narrative frame presents a more promising version of apparatus theory: Hana's relationship with Kip involves both a transnational way of loving and an "adulterated" way of seeing. Whereas nationalist ideology links knowledge to the notion of a disembodied and objective gaze, both the film's eroticism and its melodramatic evocation of tears remind us that vision is fundamentally embodied.

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