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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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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada