Arts and Entertainment

Jumbo the elephant was a Victorian sensation, who between his birth in modern-day Eritrea and alcoholic death in the American circus of the incorrigible showman PT Barnum was the star attraction at London Zoo.

New biopic Gainsbourg features the untimely swansong of a young actress

Lucy Gordon didn't live to see the acclaim that she would receive for playing Jane Birkin in Gainsbourg, a biopic about the acclaimed French crooner, Serge. She committed suicide aged 28 in May 2009, just a short time after filming had completed and just before she was due to appear in Cannes to promote the film. The usual tittle-tattle about suicide notes and suppositions as to why she took her own life quickly appeared, alongside premature (the film was still some way from being completed) assessments of her talent. Now, as Joann Sfar's film hits cinemas, it's clear that, like Birkin, Gordon was set to move from mannequin to actress with aplomb.

DVD: The Unloved (15)

In the land of the dispossessed, belonging is king. Feeling loved is the antidote to the trauma of abandonment, the Holy Grail sought by Lauren Socha in Samantha Morton's The Unloved, a semi-biographical tale of children in care.

Samuel Johnson, By Peter Martin

Tackling the best known of all biographical subjects is a tall order, but Martin has achieved an enthralling and original portrait. Despite his Stephen Fry-like celebrity ("I believe there is hardly a day in which there is not something about me in the papers"), Johnson emerges as sad and afflicted, in keeping with his dark reflection shortly before death on "the general disease of my life".

Mishima: a life in four chapters (15)

Paul Schrader's 1985 biopic of the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima is a brave but flawed attempt to tell a sensational story in a formalist manner. The author's last day in November 1970 – when he committed ritual suicide after addressing an army garrison – is interspersed with black-and-white flashbacks to his painful boyhood and dramatic excerpts from his novels, remarkably visualised by the designer Eiko Ishioka. Yet the cerebral cool of Schrader's perspective sacrifices emotional connection to its subject: Mishima's life will always be a mystery, but the careful layerings don't give much of a clue as to why he became an object of cult worship to the Japanese.

Gunman and guards trade shots inside US Holocaust Museum

An elderly gunman opened fire inside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum today, wounding one security guard before two other officers returned fire. The assailant and his victim were both hospitalized.

DVD: Hunger, Retail & Rental, (Pathé)

The Turner-winning artist Steve McQueen turns Bafta-winning writer/director with this mesmeric film about Bobby Sands’ hunger strike. Unstintingly brutal, yet often fabulous to look at, it rejects the structure of a traditional chronological biopic.

Che: Part One, Steven Soderbergh, 126 mins, 15

Not so much a biopic as 'I'm a rebel ... get me out of here'

Knightley lined up to play Scott Fitzgerald's Zelda in biopic

Zelda Sayre was one of the most controversial literary figures of her time. Some claim that her marriage to F Scott Fitzgerald inspired him to produce the Jazz Age's best novels. Others say she stifled his creativity.

Album: Micah P. Hinson, Micah P. Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra (Full Time Hobby)

Even if he were to cover his sort-of namesake's "Grace Kelly", Micah P. Hinson would still sound like a backwoods mechanic hiding something in the cellar.

Thomas Sutcliffe: Spot the cultural Renaissance

Reading about the McMaster review of arts funding, headlined in one newspaper as "Britain on verge of 'new Renaissance', minister claims", I was reminded of the – possibly apocryphal – Hollywood biopic in which one artist turns to another and says furiously: "Don't you understand? You can't paint like that any more – we're in the Renaissance now." The point is, of course, that the Renaissance wouldn't even exist as a concept until some 300 years later: a renaissance isn't something that you can identify at the time.

Album: John C Reilly

Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story (Sony BMG)
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
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Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
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Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
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Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
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Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
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Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
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Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

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Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

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Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

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Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

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America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone