Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
July 22
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.”


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Paul Schrader July 22, 1946
Paul Schrader born

Writer/director Paul Schrader, born July 22, 1946, famously lived in his car in the months while writing his second screenplay, that iconic parable of urban alienation, 1976's Taxi Driver.

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July 22, 1971
Charlotte Gainsbourg born

The daughter of two icons has not actively sought the limelight.

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22 July 1947
The Other Albert Einstein

Neurotic, self-absorbed, and needing a personal trainer — that's a description that could apply to most of today's hottest movie comedians, from Will Ferrell's paunchy sports stars and newscasters to Judd Apatow's schlubby romantics.

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