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For years, she was typecast as a frosty English rose. But then something remarkable happened – and Kristin Scott Thomas blossomed into one of the most interesting actresses of our age

Miramax - No country for this old maverick

After no Oscar nominations in 2010 and a drastic reduction of its operations, Miramax appears to be dead in the water. James Mottram asks what the decline of the arthouse giant means for the future of US independent cinema

Best film & theatre books for Christmas

Kevin MacDonald recounts a transforming moment when, as a student at Oxford, he found himself sitting in front of a film made by his grandfather, Emeric Pressburger: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The elderly Pressburger had just been admitted to an old people's home and although MacDonald shared a strong emotional bond with him, he had never much bothered with his films. Now he saw reflected for the first time the talents of an "extraordinary man" facing his last years alone.

Matt Damon: 'I have turned down scripts if the violence is gratuitous. I do believe it has an effect on people's behaviour'

Matt Damon is almost visibly shivering. He's turned his mind back to the beginning of the decade, to a time when his career was on the skids. Robert Redford's golfing saga The Legend of Bagger Vance and the Cormac McCarthy adaptation All The Pretty Horses, both of which cast Damon in the lead, had tanked. Holed up in Paris, he was on the fourth round of re-shoots for The Bourne Identity. "All the indicators were that that was going to be a turkey too," he says. Going through his mind was the simple rule of baseball: three strikes and you're out. "Nobody had offered me a job in about nine months."

Running wild: London prepares for 'free-running' championships

The world's best 'free-runners' are converging on London. Rob Sharp tries to learn some of their milder moves

Observations: Tide is awash with new talent

The third annual High Tide theatre festival at Halesworth in Suffolk, which kicks off on 27 April for 14 days, is premiering three new plays that have been hand-picked and developed from over 650 scripts. The chosen writers – Lucy Caldwell for her second play Guardians, Jesse Weaver and Lydia Adetunji for their debut plays Muhmah and Fixer respectively – were paired up with young directors, designers and actors and given mentors to help them from the first draft through to finished, final productions.

Screen test: Look what they've done to my book!

Book-writing is a very different art from writing screenplays. So what happens when an author's cherished creation finds itself in Hollywood's tender embrace? Charlotte Cripps asked nine novelists how they cope

Juliette Binoche: My step into the unknown

The actress Juliette Binoche reveals why she's turned to dance, what it's like to work with Akram Khan, and how much she misses Anthony Minghella

Last Night's TV: Bonekickers, BBC1; Imagine... BBC1

They need to dig a little deeper

Preview: Reading Room, Southbank Centre, London

Stars and dancers are perfect fit

Savage critics stifle opera, says ENO chief

Opera in London is too conservative compared to Berlin and Paris productions, and is stuck "in a bit of a box", the artistic director of the English National Opera says.

David Lister: Director's troubles are partly self-inflicted

For the artistic director of the English National Opera to lament the state of opera in London is a bit like the head of British Airways criticising the state of baggage handling at Terminal 5. If it isn't your fault, whose fault is it exactly?

Jonathan Romney: Noises Off

Anthony Minghella shot for the stars but still kept his feet on the ground

Anthony Minghella

I first encountered Anthony Minghella at the peak of his first career when he was writing Inspector Morse screenplays for the producers Chris Burt and Ted Childs, writes Dennis Firminger [further to the obituary by Geoffrey Macnab, 19 March]. I was location manager for the series.

Anthony Minghella: Oscar-winning director of 'The English Patient' who was unafraid to deal frankly with raw emotions

Anthony Minghella made relatively few features and his career as a movie director lasted under two decades. None the less, he is likely to be remembered as a significant figure. Not only was he prepared to take on major literary novels like The English Patient and Cold Mountain, he was unafraid to deal frankly and without embarrassment or irony with raw emotions. Detractors may have called his approach novelettish and accused him of at least occasional mawkishness, but he was able to engage with audiences on a level that many, more timid, British directors of his era were not.

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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project