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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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Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

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Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

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After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
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From America's dad to date-rape drugs

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Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

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Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

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More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

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Oeuf quake

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Terry Venables column

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Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

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