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Nicole Kidman: 'That's my body of work. I'm not going to apologise for it'

Nicole Kidman: 'I've been through a lot in my life'

Her career has arced from gauche newcomer and Tom Cruise's wife to stardom in her own right. Now, the Baz Luhrmann epic Australia is a spectacular homecoming for the actress. She talks to Elaine Lipworth

Inside Arts & Entertainment

Hallelujah had a difficult beginning. The story goes that Cohen took two years to pen the song, writing at least 80 verses that were eventually distilled into the six that make up his original.

Hallelujah - a song with a life of it's own

The X Factor winner's single will be a cover of Leonard Cohen's glorious spiritual hymn, following versions by Dylan, Jeff Buckley and many others. Purists may wince, but this great song has taken on a life of its own. By Elisa Bray

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Founding father: John Milton sketched by Jonathan Richardson after William Faithorne in 1680

Paradise deferred: John Milton still divides readers

Next week is the 400th anniversary of John Milton's birth. Epic poet, champion of freedom, attack-dog for the English republic, he still divides readers. Boyd Tonkin looks at his legacy

The Art Archive/Muse d'Orsay Paris/Dagli Orti

Great Works: Rouen Cathedral: The Portal, Grey Weather (1892) by Claude Monet

Fog and art: around 1900, they went hand in hand. Oscar Wilde took fog as proof that art can alter our perceptions. "Where, if not from the Impressionists, do we get those wonderful brown fogs that come creeping down our streets...? There may have been fogs for centuries in London. I daresay there were. But no one saw them, and so we do not know anything about them. They did not exist till Art had invented them."

The al-Haram mosque can hold 900,000 people

Foster and Hadid in running to remake Mecca

Two of Britain's most-renowned architects are in the running for the single most audacious renovation in history: the redevelopment of Mecca.



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FIVE BEST FILMS

Let's Talk about the Rain, 12a
Agnès Jaoui’s comedy of manners takes on issues of class, race and loyalty, but in such a charming, offhand way that one hardly notices them being raised. The writer-director also stars, as a Parisian feminist academic attempting to break into politics. Nationwide

Pride and Glory, 15
The brutal slaying of four NYPD officers lights the touchpaper to a plot involving a whole police family in this bad-apple-cop drama. Edward Norton stars. Nationwide

Of Time and the City, 12a
Liverpool, the city of vanished splendours and tragic departures, has never had a more poignant tribute than the director’s impressionistic docu-memoir, an inspired compound of poetry, aphorism and music using extraordinary images from the Fifties and Sixties. Limited release

Hunger, 15
Michael Fassbender stars as Bobby Sands in this account of the “dirty protest” in the Maze prison in 1981. It takes docu-realism to a level that’s hard to watch, and to stomach. Nationwide

Gomorrah, 15
This full-throated adaptation of Roberto Saviano’s book makes a courageous break from the traditions of the genre by revealing just how unglamorous life under the Mafia can be. Nationwide