First Night: W.E., Venice Film Festival

So Wallis Simpson was a victim – and Madonna can direct

Carnage, Venice Film Festival

Roman Polanski likes confined spaces. Knife in the Water, Cul-de-Sac, Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby all had a determinedly claustrophobic feel. So does Carnage (a world premiere in Venice.) The difference here is that this is a comedy, albeit a barbed and vicious one. Adapted from Yasmina Reza's play, it is a chamber piece, lasting barely 80 minutes. Thanks to the coruscating dialogue and four tremendous central performances, the film transcends its stage origins. Not since Richard Burton and Liz Taylor tore strips off each other in the movie version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has there been a film that has probed so pitilessly into the lives of middle-class couples.

The Europeans are coming: why our film-makers don't need Hollywood any more

The big draws at this week's Venice Film Festival are notable for one thing: they have not required US money

Madonna gets ready to cause a commotion in Venice

The star's latest film will premiere at this year's festival. Kaleem Aftab reports on the rumours of a troubled production

DVD: Unknown (15)

Liam Neeson appears to be landing the roles that Harrison Ford once claimed in the 1980s and 1990s; in films like Roman Polanski's conspiracy thriller Frantic and the chase drama The Fugitive.

Jodie Foster - A single-minded star who is nobody's puppet

Jodie Foster has been steadfast in her defence of her friend, and latest leading man, Mel Gibson. She opens up to Kaleem Aftab

Meet the Alpha Boomers: They're older, richer, wiser and determined to prove that age is just a number

Laura Tennant reports on the changing face of ageing

And... cut! Nazi outburst earns Von Trier a ban from Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival, long-heralded for its libertarian attitude to the work and lives of its many auteurs, has finally drawn a line in the sun-scorched sand. Its organisers have banned Danish director Lars von Trier from the festival for telling the world's media he was "a Nazi" and could "understand Hitler".

Swinton: 'It's a horror film, a love story, a war film, not social comment'

A best-selling novel unnervingly brought to life by the British film-maker Lynne Ramsay has so far been the competition highlight of the Cannes Film Festival. Based on the 2003 book by Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin stars Tilda Swinton and is directed by Glasgow-born Ramsay, who made her feature debut in Cannes in 1999 with the acclaimed Ratcatcher and whose last film was Morvern Callar in 2002.

Forty years ago, one man found the devil in Ms Asher

'Deep End', in which she torments an adolescent admirer, is to be re-released. The star talks to Geoffrey Macnab about sex, femmes fatales and girl gangs

The Resident (15)

Starring: Hilary Swank, Christopher Lee

Geoffrey Macnab: The dark side of the cinema screen

In early-1970s Hollywood, when maverick directors were making personal and provocative movies, actresses were still treated as badly as ever

It's time to grow up, advisers tell Sarkozy

Almost four years after taking office, President Nicolas Sarkozy has decided to become the President of France. That is to say, he has been instructed by his advisers that his hopes of re-election next spring will increase enormously if he acts in a more "presidential" manner.

Culture Club: Black Swan (15)

Readers review this week's big film

Pierre Guffroy: Oscar-winning set designer who worked with Godard, Truffaut and Polanski

Oscar-winning art designer Pierre Guffroy worked with many of Europe's best-known directors. Equally suited to Bresson's austerity, Buñuel's surrealism and Polanski's absurdism, his designs also helped define some of the best-known films by directors including Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and Marcel Camus.

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