Letter: Men as scapegoats

Sir: So, premature spinsterhood afflicts women east of Berlin too, does it? ("Bridget Jones goes to Budapest", 24 November). Having Adam LeBor relay the news doesn't make the analysis any less facile. Once again, men are the problem sex, their fragile egos threatened by independent- minded women. But at least it diverts Bridget's attention from her own inadequacies.

Books: Inspirations Novelist Terry Pratchett

Novelist Terry Pratchett

London Film Festival: Little Voice

Little Voice (dir Mark Herman, starring Jane Horrocks and Michael Caine)

Books: Independent choice - Bridget Jones clones

Welcome to the post-Bridget Jones generation of heroines, invariably single, of fluctuating weight, fond of cardigans and more familiar than is strictly healthy with Saturday night TV schedules. Nothing very "post" about that, you might say. But if Bridget Jones appealed as Everywoman, Jane Green's Jemima J (Penguin, pounds 5.99), Isabel Wolff's The Trials of Tiffany Trott (HarperCollins, pounds 5.99) and Clare Naylor's Catching Alice (Coronet, pounds 5.99) are ambivalent about the extent to which they want their readers to identify with their characters and crises - be it blowing the fuses with the hairdryer, or the all-absorbing search for a man.

All on your Bridget Jones...

Being single is exciting - fashionable, even. Then Christmas comes along...

Profile: Acting the fool - Jim Broadbent

Actor Jim Broadbent talks with James Rampton

Letter: Marvellous Mark

Sir: If both the answers to T Turkson's questions are yes (letter, 4 September), and Bridget Jones accepts his proposal, then I would like to point out that I'd be more than happy to give Mark Darcy all the comfort he needs to help him recover from her rejection.

Letter: Beloved Bridget

Sir: Does Bridget Jones exist? Does she look like the photograph beside her column (Bridget Jones's Diary, 28 August)?

Flying off the outside edge

It's no secret that Brenda Blethyn has just been voted Best Actress at Cannes. But it would be a lie to say that success has gone to her head

BLUE IN THE FACE Wayne Wang / Paul Auster (15) ROUGH MAGIC Clare Peploe (12) MONEY TRAIN Joseph Ruben (18) FRANKIE STARLIGHT Michael Lindsay- Hogg (nc)

Nothing strikes fear into the moviegoer's heart like "improvisation" (except, perhaps, the words "... starring Charlie Sheen"). Too often this technique, employed to conjure up stretches of fluid, unrestrained cinema, actually creates the opposite - stiffly played, sparsely directed longueurs in which people drink coffee and scream a lot. You can glimpse such design flaws every now and then in Wayne Wang and Paul Auster's film Blue in the Face, but not often enough to ruin your enjoyment of what is a sassy and jubilant slice of on-the-hoof lunacy.

Classical Music: Sex, Chopin and subterfuge

Jilly Cooper's latest book is a romp through the classical music world. Malcolm Hayes was in on her research

A CRITICAL GUIDE: STAYING IN: VIDEO NEW RELEASES

Bullets Over Broadway (15). The comedy of the year, and one of Woody Allen's best. John Cusack plays a struggling playwright who casts a mobster's girl in order to get the thug to finance his latest play. Allen (for once not starring) and co-writer Douglas McGrath build a flawless comedy from this solid foundation. Chazz Palminteri plays the moll's bodyguard, who turns out to have a talent for writing, rescripting the play to its benefit. Jennifer Tilly is screechily mannered as the dumb girlfriend. And there are exquisite supporting performances from Dianne Wiest's narcissistic drama queen, and Jim Broadbent's compulsively overeating British thespian, wolfing down sandwiches. He brings new humour to eating disorders.

LETTER:Wednesday delight

From Mr John Conway

Dance on film adopts a challenging posture

It's been an unusually fatuous week on television, both in drama and current affairs, which may be why Dance for the Camera (BBC2, all week) feels like relief rather than obligation. The Radio Times described it as "a journey along pathways real a nd imaginary", which under normal circumstances would have me getting out the map to look for an alternative route. In fact the series has been full of little shocks of pleasure, precisely because it gives precedence to bodily impulse over rational clari ty.

One foot in Lady Hester Stanhope's grave

The cast list of Heroes and Villains (BBC1) flags the series's intentions fairly candidly. Rowan Atkinson and Jim Broadbent will take the lead in episodes to come, and last night's "Queen of the East" starred Jennifer Saunders. These actors are no t hired to turn in accurate photocopies of real human beings.
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Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable