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The pair were picked up Norwegian freighter en route for Rotterdam after previous attempts to help them failed

Going Dutch at the Rotterdam Film Festival

FOR THOSE who bemoan the commercialisation of Sundance and the Americanisation of Berlin, Rotterdam is much more than a convenient stopover on the film-festival circuit. A 12-day event attended by an estimated quarter of a million people, the Rotterdam Film Festival - which wraps up its 27th instalment today - has a well-earned reputation as a sanctuary for film lovers. The prevailing mood is unabashedly cinephilic, the glitz quotient agreeably low (Matthew Modine, on hand to promote Tom DiCillo's The Real Blonde, was the closest thing to a Hollywood presence this year). Under British director Simon Field (formerly of London's ICA), Rotterdam has consolidated its position as Europe's most adventurous festival. Audiences are spoilt for choice, and even the most casual grazing is guaranteed to turn up some worthwhile discoveries.

Film: Oscar material? Er, not quite...

A rare mix of the avant-garde and daring characterises the Rotterdam Film Festival. Chris Darke dips into the world of cinema as an `alchemical box of

Music: Classical: Music on CD

PROKOFIEV:

Time runs out for the gravy trains

Since deregulation, complaints about Britain's railways have soared. But that is not deterring the EU from following the same track - despite national misgivings. Hilary Clarke reports

REVIEW; Unplugged and unheard, but heroes anyway

Bert Jansch and Brooks Williams

Equestrianism: Whitaker aims for positive start on Welham

At an age when most horses would be starting to lose their sparkle, John Whitaker's 17-year-old mount Virtual Village Welham seems to get better and better.

Edinburgh Festival 97: International festival

CLASSICAL MUSIC Beethoven's `Missa Solemnis' (Philharmonia Orchestra / Michael Gielen) Usher Hall

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL 97 /Rotterdam Philharmonic / Valery Gergiev Usher Hall

The violist Yuri Bashmet and the conductor Valery Gergiev were a good combination in the Bartok-Serly Viola Concerto. Neither musician is primarily interested in elegance or good taste, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, a particularly responsive and intelligent group, responded on Friday to their blazing enthusiasm.

Symphonic sausage roll without the sausage

CLASSICAL Christian Thielemann / LSO Barbican Centre, London

Bjornebye is relieved despite European exit

Stig Inge Bjornebye yesterday revealed that Liverpool's desire to prove the doubters wrong provoked the performance that almost realised a European Cup-Winners' Cup miracle against Paris St-Germain on Thursday, and which he believes will bring the reward of a European Cup place.

Adam Cooper honoured with award for the Outstanding Individual Performance in Ballet

Adam Cooper, who led the dynamic and innovative gender-swapping Swan Lake (pictured above), was yesterday honoured with an award for the Outstanding Individual Performance in Ballet, writes David Lister.

Tennis: Monica Seles forced to withdraw from the State Farm Evert Cup

Monica Seles suffered a further setback in her quest to recover from injury when she was forced to withdraw from the State Farm Evert Cup in California. Seles, who broke a finger when catching a tennis ball two months ago, has not played in a tournament since December.

ABP warns on windfall tax

Associated British Ports is not a utility, is not a monopoly, and should not be subject to the Labour party's windfall tax, chairman Sir Keith Stuart said yesterday. "There is an Ofgas, Ofwat, Oftel and Offer. But there is no Ofport."

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