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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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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game