This definition of anti-Semitism has been too stretched for too long

Cinema: The thief, his wife and her sister

JOHN BOORMAN has always been a myth-maker, a teller of tall tales. For instance, that business in Excalibur with the Lady in the Lake - did it actually happen? Well, no, but hard-nosed realists don't do sword sorcery. What about those sunlit reminiscences in Hope and Glory? Was that yarn about the fish and the German air-raid based on fact? I wouldn't bet on it. The mythic seems to haunt Boorman's production schedule, too. It was rumoured that some diabolic influence was behind the strange near- fatal illness that struck him down on the set of The Exorcist II. Poppycock, probably. But it's a fantastic story. And why bother with anaemic reportage, his films suggest, when you can have full-blooded folklore instead?

Film: The eccentric Great Uncle of film

Cinemagoers won't know how to react to Alan Rudolph's new film `Afterglow' - which is just what he wants. James Mottram on a director who delights in life's contradictions

Letter: Life is sweet at fifty

Sir: Further to Bel Mooney's thoughts on "How it really feels to be fifty" (28 May), herewith a list of the benefits of celebrating your 50th birthday (mine's on 11 June if anyone wants to send gifts):

Film: The gong show

"The statuette is the perfect symbol of the picture business," said Frances Marion the year after the Academy Awards were launched in 1927, "a powerful athletic body clutching a gleaming sword, with half of his head - the part that holds the brains - completely sliced off."

Behind the song

You know the hit, but do you know how it came to be written? What was the inspiration? Today: Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks

Putting his stamp on fame

The wispy grey hair is now his distinguished trademark. Terence Stamp is a peculiar hybrid between Cockney gent and a Mayfair natural. Women simply adore him. Men want to shake his hand.

Creative Industries: Film: Projecting into the future

Creative industry outlook: we're big on local heroes, but the challenge for sectors from film to software is to become a force on the global stage

Human Condition: When being beautiful is not enough

If one of Britain's most famous beauties felt she had to have a facelift, what hope for the rest of us? writes Emma Cook

Book: a book that changed me

Bel Mooney on George Eliot's 'Middlemarch'

THEATRE: Third time unlucky for Julie Christie

There Was an Uncle Vanya back in the Seventies and an Old Times in 1995. And until last week that was it. So it was a rare event when Julie Christie walked on stage at Chichester. In her mid-50s, she still looks terrific: the high cheek bones, long jaw line and wide mouth have acquired - if anything - a delicate tautness. In black overcoat with black gloves she appears as the ice-cool blonde: elegant and intriguingly remote. She clearly knows the value of good bone structure, as she keeps tilting the famous face into each available source of light. For 10 minutes we gaze and gawp and think about our favourite bits from Dr Zhivago. After that we begin to hope she's not playing the main character. For the one thing Christie can do on film and can't do on stage - as becomes increasingly apparent across two long hours of Suzanna Andler - is hold our attention.

Somewhere my love...Pasternak's passionate letters to his own Lara set to fetch pounds 500,000

Poignant exchange during Stalin purges

THEATRE Billy Liar Liverpool Playhouse

On page, stage, large and small screen, Keith Waterhouse's Billy Liar has, since 1959, become a minor proverbial figure in English culture. Some of this is obviously due to Billy's having taken his place among the motley escape committee of Jimmys, Arthurs and Vics who were then breaking out of the oubliette of condescension labelled "provincial" and "working class". Much ink has been, and still is, spilt in analysing the cultural shift of which they were part.

D'Angerous liaisons

Margaret Drabble being snide about reviewers? Tut-tut, says Hugo Barnacle; The Witch of Exmoor by Margaret Drabble, Viking, pounds 16

Film: Video round-up/ The white heat of technophobia

The director Donald Cammell committed suicide on 24 April this year. His curriculum vitae suggests that he was someone who could make Stanley Kubrick look prolific. He edged into the film business armed with a psychedelically inclined imagination and a screenplay, a heist thriller filmed in 1967 as Duffy. But Performance made his name.

Taken as wed

DAVID LEAN by Kevin Brownlow, Richard Cohen Books pounds 25
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