Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
August 01
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
Frances Farmer August 1, 1970
Frances Farmer dies

When Frances Farmer finally died from esophageal cancer in 1970, it marked the end of a life whose tragedies became as famous as the star’s achievements.

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August 1, 1954
Rear Window opens

On this day in 1954, Alfred Hitchcock released one of his finest and most thrilling pictures, Rear Window. The movie was the second collaboration between Hitch and James Stewart.

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1 August 1986
$tallone's $tar Power

22 years ago this week, Sylvester Stallone was crowned the king of Hollywood when a list published in Company magazine announced him as the highest paid actor in the world.

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