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

FILM: Stick up for Brit flicks

When it comes to home-grown movies, we're their harshest critics. MATTHEW SWEET deplores a long and ignoble tradition

Will the real Bilbo Baggins please stand up

Whenever I think about Mike Leigh's new film, Vera Drake, the one about abortion in the 1950s, I worry. Not about abortion. Not even about the1950s. What I worry about is how many women there are out there in real life who are called Vera Drake and whose life is being made difficult by it.

The best of 2004: reference books reviewed

Fighting talk in the year of chavs

How a £1.25m 'blind grant' led to Leigh's Venice triumph

Mike Leigh's portrait of a 1950s working class wife and mother who "helps out" pregnant girls by performing illegal, back-street abortions has been hailed as his greatest film since Secrets and Lies. But when the UK Film Council agreed to stump up £1.25m to fund the film, it had no clear plot or script and was simply known as Untitled '03.

THEATRE: Great minds do not think alike

A play dramatising the wartime struggle between De Gaulle and Churchill is just one of Paris's current stage successes. Why? By Paul Taylor

THE 1990s IN REVIEW: CINEMA - Hollywood takes over the world

In Britain, we had `Trainspotting' and `Four Weddings'. But overall, American blockbusters triumphed. By Gilbert Adair

`Third Man' heads list of century's top British movies

A FILM whose two stars were both American has been voted the best British motion picture of the century. Carol Reed's enduring version of Graham Greene's The Third Man, starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, has come top in a poll of 1,000 directors, actors, producers and screenwriters.

Film: Who's the daddy now?

Tim Roth's directing debut focuses on incest. Is he pointing at a hidden past or exploiting a controversial topic?

Edinburgh Festival '99: Too close for comfort

THEATRE Riddance Traverse Theatre, Venue 15 (0131-228 1404) to 4 Sept

Books: An Aesop's fable from the dead zone

The Nudist Colony

Film: They weren't all 'Life of Brian'

REMEMBER Lenny Henry transformed by latex into a white man in True Identity, his 1991 foray into Hollywood? Or Rik Mayall in Drop Dead Fred, a film condemned by Halliwell's Film Guide as a "singularly tasteless comedy, lacking any vestige of wit"?

Film: Meet our reluctant friend in the North

Gina McKee really doesn't like interviews. But she's a star now. Does she need to loosen up?

Focus: A patio to die for

Once it was the height of suburban aspiration. Now it's for burying bodies

Young, gifted and criminally ignored

'Secrets and Lies' showed Marianne Jean-Baptiste to be one of our brightest talents, so why has she had to go abroad to look for work? She talks to Andrew Gumbel

Offers: Win Tickets To See 'cold Feet And Wet Toes' And Free Day Passes To The Sanctuary

Cold Feet and Wet Toes is a new, part-Bridget Jones, part-Mike Leigh comedy about two twentysomething women who juggle sex with careers and
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Day In a Page

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
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