News

Sex symbol-turned-animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot is threatening to join actor Gerard Depardieu in Russian exile unless France halts the scheduled euthanasia of two sick circus elephants.

BFI London Film Festival exceeds great expectations with record-breaking crowds

The London film festival ended late on Sunday with the European premiere of Mike Newell's Great Expectations and the release of figures showing public attendance at screenings across the capital this year had risen 12 percent to a record 149,000.

DVD: The Artist

It's a cause for celebration that this year's big Oscar winner (five awards including Best Picture and Best Actor) was a French, black-and-white silent movie.

Paris cinemas protest at the degradation of culture

Two of the best-known independent cinemas in Paris have “abolished Christmas” to protest against the monopolisation of popular “art” films by the big, French cinema chains.

Rebel rebel: Why Vincent Cassel is Europe’s most dangerous movie star

He set the screen alight – and pulses racing – as Black Swan's lecherous ballet director, while as one half of Europe's movie power couple, he provoked the wrath of the Vatican. Now Vincent Cassel has a family, is he set to curb his inflammatory instincts? Not likely, he tells James Mottram

Potiche, François Ozon, 102 mins (15)

Deneuve is reunited with Depardieu in a deliciously retro boardroom farce

DVD: Adrift (12A)

Heitor Dhalia's family drama, set on Brazil's impossibly beautiful coastline, is a tale of nascent sexuality, infidelity and domestic dissolution.

King of the New Wave: BFI salutes the brilliant, groundbreaking French film-maker François Truffaut

If there is one scene that sums up the work of the French film-maker François Truffaut (the subject of a major retrospective at the BFI next month), it's a moment midway through his 1976 film, Small Change, about children growing up in a small town in France. A baby boy called Gregory is left alone in a high-rise apartment. He is playing with a pet kitten that refuses to come in from the window ledge and then gets stuck. Gregory playfully tries to rescue the kitten, loses his grip and falls downward to his certain death... but he doesn't die. "Gregory went boom!" the little youngster tells the adult onlookers as he dusts himself off on the ground dozens of floors below. His mother faints. Gregory makes no fuss. Nor does Truffaut. In his universe, no harm should ever be allowed to come to children. The film-maker was, as one friend described him, "a kind soul" and "a treasure trove of tenderness".

DVDs that shaped 2010: World cinema DVDs

The French New Wave is not so new any more, but it has had a resurgence with the DVD issue of films from Agnès Varda's real-time Cleo from 5 to 7 to Eric Rohmer's classic morality tale My Night with Maud, via two suspense-filled volumes of Claude Chabrol thrillers and one collection of Alain Resnais's dissections of love.

Ross to be face of French film channel

The irrepressible Jonathan Ross, who promised himself a year off after leaving the BBC this summer, is to return to television next week as the face of specialist French film channel Cinemoi.

Claude Chabrol

New Wave director known for his menacing thrillers set in bourgeois milieux

DVD: Micmacs (12)

A crackpot revenge tale of a group of misfits living in a scrap heap who take on two arms manufacturers, Micmacs aims for idiosyncratic charm.

DVD: The Essential Claude Chabrol Vol 1, For retail & rental (Artificial Eye)

This neat little package draws together three of Chabrol's more recent films, Inspector Lavardin (1986), Betty (1992) and Merci pour le Chocolat (2000).

Nicholas Jones: Baftas, Globes and Oscars – they're all becoming alike

An extraordinary lobbying process now influences the shortlists

Observations: Mon jour chez Eric Rohmer

The first words I heard Eric Rohmer speak were on my voicemail. "Bonjour, c'est Eric Rohmer", said a deep French voice. It was March 2006 and I was living in Paris. I had written a letter to the celebrated French film-maker a couple of weeks before, hoping to interview him for my dissertation. I never imagined anything would come of it.

Eric Rohmer: Prolific film-maker, critic and novelist whose pioneering work homed in on romantic tangles

"The cow is there." So begins E M Forster's The Longest Journey. That remark surfaces in Eric Rohmer's A Winter's Tale (1992) as an allusion by a character. But who, why, and when? Unlike Forster, Rohmer – often glibly called a novelist in film – leaves a blur of enchantingly civilised exchanges which do not always galvanise 90 minutes' traffic on the screen.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on