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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

Publishing: Split success for 'English Patient'

Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient was the biggest earner in British bookshops last week, taking more than pounds 38,000. There are two paperback versions of the novel, on which Anthony Minghella's Oscar-nominated film is based. One has a picture of Ralph Feinnes (right) on the cover, and reached number 7 in the paperback best-sellers list, while the edition with the original cover reached number 9. If everybody had bought the same edition, the combined sales would have put it at number 2.

Cinema: Never mind the hype, prepare to be seduced

With his long-awaited epic, Anthony Minghella retells stories movies have always liked to tell, but in truly cinematic style

A deceptive beauty

The English Patient; Anthony Minghella (15)

'I look like the bad guy... sort of violent'; interview: willem dafoe

In The English Patient he's brilliant as the thieving, seething spy. Yet he's the one who won't be getting an Oscar. But hey, who cares?

Cutting to the quick

'The English Patient' has taken $55m, was four years in the making and is up for 12 Oscars. Writer-director Anthony Minghella talks to David Benedict about the heart of the matter

Film: `The English Patient' has 12 Oscar and 13 BAFTA nominations. But, asks John Lyttle, why all this fuss over a dressed-up costume drama with nowhere to go?

Given that America has no tradition of what might be called BBC costume drama - art dressed up, epic but intimate, prettily pictorial but impeccably literate, and terribly, terribly tasteful - it is perhaps not surprising that it should clutch Anthony Minghella's The English Patient [Colin Firth and Kristin Scott-Thomas pictured right] to its bosom.

How film's independent producers are winning hearts, minds and seats from the Hollywood moguls

First the Oscar nominations suggested it and then this week's announcement of the front runners for Bafta awards, the British equivalent, confirmed it - the Hollywood giants are fighting a losing battle against the small independent film companies.

Couple reunited in Bafta award nominations

Ralph Fiennes, star of the acclaimed new film The English Patient, and his estranged wife, Alex Kingston (right), star of ITV's adaptation of Moll Flanders, have both been nominated for Bafta awards, Britain's Oscars for film and television. Since the couple split up, Fiennes has been romantically linked with the actress Francesca Annis.

Why we must be Patient for release of top films

It Has drawn ecstatic audiences around the world, it has 12 Oscar nominations, including one each for director Anthony Minghella and stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Ralph Fiennes, but British audiences still can't see The English Patient, one of the most successful British films of all time.

Truly, madly successful

He didn't see a play until he was an adult. Now his film is up for 12 Oscars. profile; Anthony Minghella

A MAN OF MANY PARTS

Before `Pride & Prejudice', Colin Firth was a moderately successful young actor, looking forward to a moderately successful career. Then every woman in the land fell for Mr Darcy. Now he's the first choice for everything from BBC adaptations of Conrad to Nick Hornby's `Fever Pitch'. But what does the man himself make of all the fuss?

HOW THEY SAVED THE PATIENT

`The English Patient' has just opened in America - to rave reviews. David Thomson on how a great novel can become a great movie

SCREEN WATCH

Next Tuesday night Channel 4 is showing the film that Jeremy Paxman missed the opportunity to fund. Lost For Words is a 27-minute short produced by Peter La Terriere and directed by Simon Smith. The black comedy about a peasant trying to put down an old and sick dog was made in Spain in 1993, but the film-makers ran out of money halfway through. Desperate for cash, they gatecrashed the Spectator magazine's Christmas party, and collared Jeremy Paxman. In festive mood, the Newsnight presenter agreed to stump up pounds 5,000 for post-production. His condition: that Conrad Black, as owner of the Spectator, had to stump up first. La Terriere and Smith raced to find him but drew a blank. Paxman was off the hook.

Terrifying.Brittle. Arrogant. Icy ...

...Kristin Scott Thomas gets to wear all the best adjectives. And thanks to Four Weddings, she's getting to try on some better roles. By Sheila Johnston

FILM / Director's Cut: Anthony Minghella on the fairy-tale simplicity of Zhang Yimou's Red Sorghum

'THIS STORY IS about my grandparents . . . It's still spoken of in these parts, even though it happened a long time ago. Some people believe it, some people don't' This beguiling voice-over heralds the first scene of Red Sorghum. In it, Gong Li is taken by sedan to a remote Sorghum winery, where, against her will, she is to marry its elderly and leprous owner.
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John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
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The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

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Dying dream of Doctor Death

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39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
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Computerised cooking is coming

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Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
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Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
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‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
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Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most