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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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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn