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From avenging their dead to mimicking human speech, elephants get up to all sorts of things you'd never expect

IN THE KINGDOM OF YOUTH

STEVEN SPIELBERG: The Unauthorised Biography by John Baxter HarperColli ns pounds 18

Homage of such sweet sorrow

LES MISERABLES Claude Lelouch (18); Director Claude Lelouch has paid a Christmas card tribute to Hugo's epic novel. By Adam Mars-Jones

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Rob Roy (15). Unexpectedly, one of the movies of the year. Michael Caton-Jones's beautifully crafted epic has all the salt and style that Braveheart lacked. Liam Neeson plays the Highland chieftain, as resolute as an oak against the squalls of English oppression. Tim Roth and John Hurt are superb as his Sassenach adversaries. Jessica Lange is the one disappointment as Rob's bonnie lass. Best of all is the earthy script, by Alan (Night Moves) Sharp. It sounds as if it might have been given a polish-up by a writer named James Boswell. Not one for the more squeamish though.

Schindler ban lifted

Malaysia has lifted its ban on the Oscar-winning film 'Schindler's List'. Officials may still require scenes of nudity and violence to be censored.

Jordan bans Schindler's List

Steven Spielberg's award-winning film on the Nazi Holocaust, Schindler's List, has been banned in Jordan, the Information Minister, Jawad Anani, said yesterday, AFP reports from Amman. 'I issued orders to ban this film before it reaches Jordan. It is my own decision,' Mr Anani said. Malaysia has also banned the film.

'And I am not just saying that . . .': The Oscars

THE OSCARS: Once a year they leave the security of Beverly Hills and the San Fernando Valley to venture into downtown Los Angeles. Stepping out of their limos on to a two-speed red carpet (slow lane for megastars, fast lane for co-stars), they take their places in the charade that is the Academy Awards. Phil Reeves looked on from the wings

Profile: Will Oskar win him the Oscar?: Liam Neeson, dogged hunky Irish actor

WOMEN are susceptible to the charms of Liam Neeson, just as they were to those of Oskar Schindler, the character he plays in Steven Spielberg's film. 'They faint at his feet,' declares a woman who worked on The Big Man, in which Neeson played a bare-knuckle fighter. 'He has a raw and open sexuality,' blurted Natasha Richardson, before leaving her husband for Neeson. And Neil Jordan, who directed him in the whimsical ghost story High Spirits, says 'he has an animal quality'.

FILM / A long road to recovery: Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List is every bit as distressing as a film about the Holocaust should be. But how good is it? By Adam Mars-Jones

The surprise about Schindler's List is not that it comes from the maker of Jurassic Park or the Indiana Jones films, with their buffoon Nazis. Anyone is entitled, like Graham Greene, to undertake entertainments as well as more challenging projects. The surprise is that it comes from the maker of Empire of the Sun, another narrative of suffering and survival, and one that seemed in prospect perfectly chosen to help Steven Spielberg make the passage from entertainer to serious artist. Even those few years ago (when it was already his ambition to film Schindler's List), he was unable to kick his addiction to spectacle. He cared too much that his extras be visible in their full numbers; he wanted the focal depth of his sets to be appreciated. He sought to convey extremes of human experience, but still he lusted after crane shots.

FILM / Lest We Forget: One of the all-time great films opens this week: Steven Spielberg's 'Schindler's List'. Quentin Curtis reviews it

THERE IS a question that may nag at you during the three hours of Schindler's List: why am I watching this? It may be prompted by one of the summary executions that stain the screen like the blood of their victims seeping through the snow - by the sight of a German soldier murdering a Jew with a prim flick of the revolver, as if giving a final flourish of the pen to a death warrant. Or by the prisoners arriving at a re-created Auschwitz, built for the film alongside the original, to be greeted by an orgy of shouting and the steaming breath of guard-dogs. Why am I watching this? What business has entertainment with atrocity?

FILM / The Real Thing: Steven Spielberg, fueller of fantasies, wizard of wonder, is making a film about the Holocaust. It's a million miles from 'ET'. Why is he doing it? Zoe Heller went to Poland to watch the filming and talk to the director.

STEVEN SPIELBERG was having trouble with the SS when we arrived on set, somewhere on the outskirts of Krakow. 'Officers,' he said, adjusting his baseball cap in a gesture of suppressed frustration. 'Please remember this is a crime you're witnessing, OK?'

Hollywood hype meets an Irish icon

THE HOLLYWOOD star might have expected a warmer welcome for the news that he is about to shoot an epic production in Ireland. But there is far from universal delight in Dublin at Kevin Costner's plans to direct and star in a film on the life of the nationalist hero Michael Collins.
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor