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Reports from England say that Anthony Minghella, the Oscar-winning director of The English Patient, has died at 54. His agent, Judy Daish, confirmed the death to news agencies this morning. Minghella was a thoughtful and visually sumptuous director who specialized in literary adaptations; in addition to his Oscar-winning film of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, Minghella adapted and directed Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, and the pilot for the upcoming HBO series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
Minghella also wrote original screenplays, including 2006’s underrated Breaking and Entering and — perhaps his best film — 1990’s Truly, Madly, Deeply, which fans love for being like Ghost, except British, and ten times better, and starring Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson instead of Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. Minghella also was set as a writer and director for a segment of the anthology film New York, I Love You — a sequel to last year’s Paris, Je T’Aime — but it’s unclear whether Minghella had shot his short film yet. Minghella was also an acclaimed playwright and theater director; he was scheduled to write the libretto for an opera by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov and direct the ensuing production at the Met. His son Max is a rising Hollywood actor, with roles in Bee Season, Syriana, and Art School Confidential.
Whether you loved or were irritated by his films, it’s hard to deny that Minghella was an intelligent and ambitious filmmaker with a head for serious but warm-hearted storytelling. He never made a stupid movie; his films always had something to say. His death is a real loss.
Oscar-winning director Minghella dies [Guardian]Anthony Minghella Dies at 54