Short films - Brief encounters of the increasingly popular kind

Short films are the fastest-growing section of the movie business, with major directors, big brands, and web guerillas all using them to reach big audiences.

Aamir Khan: the Tom Cruise of Bollywood

The actor, director and producer talks to The Independent Online about his new film 'Peepli (Live)', a satire on the mass farmers' suicide problem facing India.

Toronto's arrived, and the British are coming

Kaleem Aftab on an amazing 10 days at the world's buzziest film festival

The great British hope: How Andrea Riseborough took the film world by storm

With starring roles in three very different films at this week's Toronto Film Festival, Andrea Riseborough is being hailed as cinema's most exciting and versatile newcomer. James Mottram meets her

Never Let Me Go, Toronto Film Festival

The age of the principal protagonist in this adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel has been reduced from 31 to 28 to facilitate the use of the cream of young British acting talent – Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield.

First Night: 127 Hours, Toronto Film Festival

Uncomfortable viewing, but a compelling piece of work

Brighton Rock, Toronto Film Festival

It coasts along quite nicely

First Night: Hereafter, Toronto Film Festival

Eastwood may be 80 – but latest film shows he's not stuck in his ways

The Town, Venice Film Festival

Three years ago, actor turned director Ben Affleck surprised critics with his highly accomplished debut feature, Gone Baby Gone, a disturbing, morally ambiguous drama about the search for an abducted kid. The Town, a thriller about Boston bank robbers, is a more conventional assignment, but it underlines Affleck's credentials as an actor's director. The plotting is strictly formulaic. What gives the film heft and pathos are the character performances and Affleck's vivid use of his Boston locations.

First Night: I'm Still Here, Venice film festival

Phoenix emerges from the flames – but is new film real?

First Night: A Letter To Elia, Venice Film Festival

Scorsese on communists and prostitutes' sons

British films prove a hit at Venice

Isaac Julien joins veterans Martin Scorsese and Catherine Deneuve on the Lido

Miral, Venice Film Festival

American artist-turned film-maker Julian Schnabel follows up on his intimate and claustrophobic The Diving Bell and the Butterly (about a stroke victim) with a full-blown epic looking at the Palestinian struggle from 1948 until the mid-1990s. Miral is plodding at times, choppily edited and unevenly performed. It has very little of the aesthetic polish of Schnabel's earlier work and the director is bound to be accused by his critics of political naivete. However, it's also a courageous and groundbreaking film. There aren't any other movies that spring to mind from Oscar-nominated directors that look at post-war Middle Eastern history from the point of view of Palestinian women.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform