Joaquin Phoenix in Her

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 22 August Storm botnet maximum, 2007 Today marks the day when, in 2007, activity by the Storm Worm Trojan horse reached its maximum. Having been identified in January 2007, the worm spread via emails with catchy subject lines such as “230 dead as storm batters Europe”. Once the recipient had clicked on it, the Trojan horse would go to work, replicating itself and emailing itself out to others as spam. No one is really sure where the Trojan horse came from – some suggest the US, others Russia – but it was designed to work on Microsoft Windows systems, turning each … Read more

The Descendants

Shailene Woodley, George Clooney, Amara Miller and Nick Krause

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 21 August Hawaii becomes 50th US state, 1959 Today marks the day when, in 1959, Hawaii became a part of the United States. It came about as a result of revolution which unseated the local Republican party, which had been in power in an almost unbroken run since the country had become a constitutional monarchy in 1887 (though that didn’t last long – it was shortly after annexed by the US in 1898 and became a Territory). The Republicans had close ties to a number of companies known as the Big Five, originally sugar plantation owners and processors, whose oligarchic power … Read more

Bathory: Countess of Blood

Anna Friel in Bathory: Countess of Blood

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 20 August Hungary founded by St Stephen, 1000 On this day in 1000, Hungary was established as a country in the Carpathian basin by Stephen I. The area had been settled by semi-nomadic tribes out of the Urals, led by Arpad (c845-c907), and his descendants consolidated their power in the region. Stephen’s father, Géza (grandson of Arpad), had made peace with the Holy Roman Empire and started the process of turning the country Christian. Stephen, once he had dealt with a rival claim to the throne by Koppány, his uncle, continued the process, applying to Pope Sylvester II for the insignia … Read more

The Patience Stone

Golshifteh Farahani and Hamidreza Javdan in The Patience Stone

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 19 August Afghanistan independence, 1919 On this day in 1919, King Amanullah Khan declared Afghanistan a sovereign and independent country. His country had been at war with the British since May of 1919, in what is now called the Third Anglo-Afghan War. Until it started, the British had been attempting to keep Afghanistan out of the Russian military sphere by paying the Afghans huge amount of money. However, the Afghans had been taking money from the Russians too, playing one side off against the other. The First World War had changed everything. For one thing it had made Afghanistan realise that … Read more

Killer Joe

Matthew McConaughey and Juno Temple in Killer Joe

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 18 August Lolita published, 1958 If you’re looking for a start date for the 1960s, you could do a lot worse than this: 18 August 1958, when Vladimir Nabokov’s novel was first published in the USA. Detailing the love of a middle aged literature professor for a 12-year-old girl, whom he has nicknamed Lolita, it had first been finished in 1953, but was turned down for publication by a string of publishing houses, finally seeing light of day only after Olympia Press in France, a publisher of pornography, printed it in 1955. In spite of its low key debut, it sold … Read more

Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival

The Isle of Wight Festival, 1970

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 17 August Woodstock ends, 1969 On this day in 1969, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair ended. Billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace and Music” it was held at a dairy farm near White Lake, New York. 32 acts had played to 400,000 people who had paid $18 in advance ($24 at the gate). Richie Havens had been the first act on and Jimi Hendrix was the last act, playing a two hour set that included his version of the Star Spangled Banner – shocking both to those who didn’t want to hear it desecrated and to those … Read more

The Doors: When You’re Strange

The Doors pose on some steps

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 16 August Elvis Presley dies, 1977 On this day in 1977, the King of Rock’n’Roll, Elvis Presley, died, an old man culturally and physically at 42. He had been physically in a steep decline since 1973, having overdosed twice on barbiturates that year. By 1977 he was fat and so dosed with drugs that he could barely talk on stage. He was suffering from glaucoma, liver damage, an enlarged heart and an enlarged colon. On the afternoon of 16 August, Elvis’s fiancée, Ginger Alden, found him on the bathroom floor dead. A lab report found his body contained 14 drugs, ten … Read more

Since Otar Left

Dinara Drukarova, Nino Khomasuridze and Esther Gorintin

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 15 August Cave city of Vardzia consecrated, 1185 On this day in 1185, the cave monastery of Vardzia, on the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain in Southern Georgia, was consecrated by Queen Tamar of Georgia. Building on the site, about 19 tiers high, had started a couple of years earlier, but excavation shows that people had been living there since the Bronze Age. Tamar was a warrior queen and dedicated the site to the Virgin Mary after successes against the Muslim invader. Because of its height and its construction in the rock, the site was held to be as impregnable “as … Read more

Our Beloved Month of August

Fábio Oliveira and Sónia Bandeira

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 14 August Battle of Aljubarrota, 1385 On this day in 1385, the battle of Aljubarrota ended Spanish designs on Portugal and confirmed an independent throne in Portugal, under King John I. The battle was waged between John I of Portugal and his English allies on one side and King John I of Castile and his Aragonese, Italian and French allies on the other side. The situation had come about after the previous king of Portugal, Ferdinand I, had died without male issue and had declared that the crown would pass to his daughter, Beatrice, and her intended, Juan I of Castile. … Read more

One, Two, Three

Cagney reprises the grapefruit scene from The Public Enemy in One, Two, Three

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 13 August Berlin Wall goes up, 1961 On this day in 1961, Berliners woke up to a Berlin divided by a wall. The capital of Berlin had been partitioned in the aftermath of the Second World War. Like the rest of Germany, but in microcosm, Berlin was parcelled out between the victorious powers – US, UK, USSR and France. However, Berlin was entirely surrounded by Soviet territory, the allies’ parts of Germany being in the west of the country, and the fear amongst Berliners was that all of the city would be swallowed up by the Soviets. Stalin had already tried … Read more