Arts and Entertainment Cate Blanchette, Sally Hawkins, and Andrew Dice Clay in a scene from the Woody Allen film, 'Blue Jasmine'

The Independent’s film critic selects his favourite films of the year

Richard Sarafian: Film director best known for the existential road movie 'Vanishing Point'

Richard Sarafian, who died on 18 September at the age of 83 following a fall, was a film director whose 1971 countercultural thriller Vanishing Point brought him a decades-long cult following. A dark story of a drug-fuelled car chase through the Nevada desert brought on by a bet between a Vietnam veteran and his drug dealer. The veteran Kowalski, played by Barry Newman, drives a Dodge Challenger muscle car across the desert with the police in hot pursuit. "It was about speed" in both the drug and automotive senses, his son Deran Serafian said. "About what it really meant."

Dr Martens

iStyle: Too Cool for School with sensible shoes

The shoes of the season are strictly sensible – and mercifully comfortable, says Naomi Attwood

Pinky and perky...

iStyle: Coming up roses -pink is not just for girls

This season, Lee Holmes urges men to take the  plunge and think pink – it’s never been just for girls

Quiz Show by Rob Drummond

Quiz Show, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

The first memory which might be stirred by this complicated but ultimately gripping psychothriller about truth and perspective from rising star Rob Drummond is a faded one of evenings watching garishly designed quiz shows on a four-channel television in the 1980s.

A billion to join dance against rape

Thursday's worldwide event is to be a 'feminist tsunami' against violence

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks as secret service members keep guard during a campaign rally in Fishersville, Virginia

Secret service star on Romney's lapel pin draws curiosity

As armies of pundits and fact-checkers inspected every phrase and shrug of Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama in Wednesday's debate, we got this message from a high-level foreign affairs specialist:

A Greenpeace picture shows the deforestation at the Belo Monte Dam project, near Altamira, Brazil

Stars line up to support new Greenpeace initiative to safeguard future of North Pole

Paul McCartney and Penélope Cruz among celebrity backers. By Michael McCarthy

Robert Redford the Sundance Kid shoots down a PM 'in trouble'

Robert Redford says PM has underestimated public appetite for innovative film-making

Moustaches: There's no bushiness like movie bushiness

From Chaplin to Selleck, film stars have been festooned with fuzz. Not now. Daniel Bettridge mourns the demise of the mo

London comic contests top US film festival prize

An award-winning London comedian heads a strong contingent of UK talent out to make their mark at the Sundance Film Festival this week.

Members of the honour guard stand by Havel's coffin in Prague Castle

Farewell Vaclav, we need you more than ever

Stephen Weeks has had a ring-side seat for the procession of Czechs mourning the loss of their national hero this week. Here, the author explains what Havel meant to his country – and laments the politicians who have squandered his glorious legacy

Rewriting Wild West history – did Butch Cassidy survive shootout?

Butch Cassidy, the Wild West bandit and leader of the Wild Bunch gang, did not die in a shootout 1908 in Bolivia as popularly believed but survived and lived the rest of his days in Washington state, according to a book collector and a writer.

Brenda Blethyn turns TV detective in Vera

Brenda Blethyn, everybody's favourite on-screen mother, hits the TV detective beat next month. But first, she's got one or two surprising confessions of her own.

Robert Redford is an eco-hypocrite, film claims

Hollywood A-listers love to trumpet their green credentials. Guy Adams reports on a film-maker who's out to expose them

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Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)