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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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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions