Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
July 24
BreakingTheWaves October 4, 1995
Breaking the Waves opens

With his 1996 film, Breaking the Waves, Lars von Trier took a left turn from sumptuously shot earlier works like Europa, embracing a new, handheld, more visceral shooting style to tell the story of Bess, a wife of a paralyzed oil drilling worker who submits herself to a gang rape in a holy appeal for his recovery. Set in 1970s Scotland, the movie contained nudity, shocking sex scenes and a revelatory performance by Emily Watson, who projected an altruistic innocence with such conviction that the director’s various audience provocations were perfectly counterbalanced. Breaking the Waves, which played the New York Film Festival October 4, 1996, is a religious film for our times in that, whatever the motives of its director, it practically begs the audience to dismiss the wife’s divine convictions while her performance urges us otherwise. Wrote Roger Ebert in his review, “Not many movies like this get made, because not many filmmakers are so bold, angry and defiant. Like many truly spiritual films, it will offend the Pharisees. Here we have a story that forces us to take sides, to ask what really is right and wrong in a universe that seems harsh and indifferent. Is religious belief only a consolation for our inescapable destination in the grave? Or can faith give the power to triumph over death and evil? Bess knows.”


More Flashbacks
Peter Sellers July 24, 1980
Peter Sellers dies

On July 24, 1980, the legendary comic actor Peter Sellers passed away at the age of just 54.

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July 24, 1974
Death Wish opens

A thriller grants New York its secret wish.

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24 July 1980
Au Revoir, Clouseau

The original cast members of the legendary Goon Show - Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe, and Peter Sellers — were due to meet up for a reunion dinner in London in the last week of July, 1980, but the dinner never took place.

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24 July 1952
Drugstore Director

Gus Van Sant, one of contemporary cinema's most fascinating and rewarding directors, was born on July 24, 1952.

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