Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
July 30
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
Richard Linklater July 30, 1960
Richard Linklater born

Richard Linklater may be turning 50 today, but the Austin-based writer-director's continuously inventive brand of filmmaking will always represent a time associated with youth.

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July 30, 2007
Michelangelo Antonioni dies

Awarding him a career Oscar in 1996, Jack Nicholson said of the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, “In the empty, silent spaces of the world, he has found metaphors that illuminate the silent places of our hearts, and found in them, too, a strange and terrible beauty: austere, elegant, enigmatic, haunting."

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30 July 1970
A Dark Director

Christopher Nolan, the director currently the toast of the town for his all-conquering box office smash The Dark Knight, made his way into the world this week in 1970.

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