Born on the Isle of Wight, the son of an Italian-born ice cream seller, Minghella was an artist ever searching for home truths in distant lands, from his 1987 play Made in Bangkok to his knotty, magnificent, Oscar-winning The English Patient, set in North Africa. The Talented Mr. Ripley took him and Matt Damon to Rome; Cold Mountain, set in North Carolina, was mostly shot in Romania. All three films were luscious meditations on obsession; the characters lost their hearts but the movies kept their wits. Minghella had finished a TV version of Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency when he died of a hemorrhage, a week after cancer surgery.