The Week In Arts: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

THE NEXT Star Wars film is scheduled for release on 4 May. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith will doubtless be the blockbuster of the summer. There may be many reasons why the producers and distributors want to release it on May the fourth. It is a bank holiday weekend so there will be an extra day when schoolchildren will be able to crowd into the morning and afternoon performances. It will also still be in the multiplexes for half term a few weeks later.

Closer (15)

A love story for our times

Of gods and men

'Why were the Jews the chosen people? Because old Jehovah had chosen them, replied the Christian god. And so it went round in circles'

FILM: He can't take his eyes off her. Who can blame him?

Over his 30-year career, Andre Techine has employed France's finest actors - Jeanne Moreau, Isabelle Adjani, Isabelle Huppert, Daniel Auteuil, Philippe Noiret, Gerard Depardieu. But he also has an eye for new talent. In Alice et Martin, he casts Juliette Binoche as Alice, and the unknown Alexis Loret as Martin. Although the film is notable thanks to Binoche, Techine's encouragement of Loret is to be admired.

Film- The Big Picture: It's great to be straight

THE STRAIGHT STORY (U)

Film: Box Office - Charts

US films

Film Studies: I've been to `Star Wars' and I've got the stub to prove it

About two weeks before 19 May, you could feel the air going out of the balloon called Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace. The mounting hype was impatient for that Wednesday, no matter that George Lucas likes to think of himself as someone who doesn't do things the old, manipulative, Hollywood way. Two weeks ago, the papers and the television news were agog with stories of people camping out on the streets to get in to the very first screening. Every magazine had Lucas on its cover.

Choice: Discussion: Closer, National Theatre

Closer, National Theatre, London SE1 (0171-928 2252) 10pm

The politics of desire

David Benedict finds `Closer' close to the bone

Parker's recipe for distaste : Cinema : THE CRITICS

THE FART, throughout history, has been the fanfare of the common man. First there was flatulence, then comedy. From Aristophanes to the Carry Ons, the ordinary bloke's wind has blasted at society. But as a rule such incontinence rarely disturbs the genteel fantasy of Hollywood (the camp-fire scene in Blazing Saddles is the exception that proves it). Alan Parker's The Road to Wellville (18) redresses the balance with a vengeance. In the story of Dr John Harvey Kellogg (Anthony Hopkins), cereal inventor and crackpot health-theorist, Parker takes us back to basics: to bottoms, enemas and "stools". Given the anal fixation, you might term it humorous fundamentalism. Par-ker's Road to Wellville is paved with broken wind.

Milking the violence for all it's worth

Leon (18) Dir: Luc Besson I Like It Like That (15) Dir: Darnell Martin Trapped in Paradise (PG) Dir: George Gallo Straw Dogs (18) Dir: Sam Peckinpah
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China's wild panda numbers on the up

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Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

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