Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood

Film of the Day

Natasza Urbanska and Borys Szyc in Battle of Warsaw

Battle of Warsaw

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     17 January     Soviet forces liberate/capture Warsaw, 1945 On this day in 1945, the Poles swapped one overlord for another as the Germans were finally flushed out of Warsaw by the Soviet Red Army, which promptly took over. The Poles had been hoping that a government of their own, an anti-communist one which had been beavering away in exile for the duration of the war, would take over. No dice. It was a bitter blow for Poland, which had been a battleground for the Second World War since the day it had started, on 1 September 1939. … Read more
Oscar Isaac and cat in Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     30 June   Dave Van Ronk born, 1936 On this day in 1936, one of the great nearly men of popular music was born, in Brooklyn, New York, USA, into a Catholic family who identified as Irish. Dave Van Ronk was singing in a barbershop quartet by the age of 13 but left school early to play music, hang around in Manhattan and, eventually, ship out with the Merchant Marine. He played jazz before straying upon blues, and built up a small following as one of the few white men working in the genre. And from there broadened … Read more
Richard Schiff and Omid Djalili

The Infidel

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     21 March   New Year’s Day, Bahá’í calendar If you’re a member of the Bahá’í faith, today is the first day of the new year. A religion that believes in one god, one spiritual source for all religions – Jewish, Christian, Muslim, whatever – and the equality of mankind, Bahá’í was only founded in the 19th century but has around five- to seven-million followers worldwide, spreading outwards from its foundational source in Iran. The largest grouping of Bahá’ís is in India. Right now it is probably the fastest growing religion in the world. It uses a solar calendar … Read more
Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in American Gangster

American Gangster

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     11 June   John F Kennedy proposes the Civil Rights Act, 1963 On this day in 1963, the US president, John F Kennedy addressed the nation. In his speech he called for legislation with would give all Americans “the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public – hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores and similar establishments”. He also called for equality before the law when it came to voting. His proposals would outlaw discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex or national origin and effectively sounded the death knell for racial segregation – in … Read more
Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos in Monster

Monster

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 9 October Aileen Wuornos executed, 2002 On this day in 2002, the serial killer Aileen Wuornos was killed by lethal injection in Florida. She had been found guilty on six counts of first degree murder. Her father, who she never met, was a schizophrenic who was convicted of sex crimes against children. Aileen’s mother abandoned her and her brother, leaving them to be brought up by her grandfather. Which sounds cosy until we learn that at 13 Aileen was pregnant after having been raped by one of her grandfather’s friends. At 15 she was homeless, and started earning a living as … Read more
Morgan Spurlock before and After in Super Size Me

Super Size Me

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     15 April   Ray Kroc opens the first McDonald’s, 1955 On this day in 1955, sanctioned by the McDonald brothers Richard and Maurice, Ray Kroc opened the first franchise of one of their McDonald’s hamburger restaurants, in Des Plaines, Illinois, USA. The ninth of a chain started by Richard and Maurice in 1948 in San Bernadino, California, the place was an immediate hit, taking hundreds of dollars in its first day. Kroc, a businessman by nature, itched to open more but the McDonalds weren’t particularly expansionist. So, in 1961, Kroc bought the entire company off them for $2.7 … Read more
Jodie Foster in Contact

Contact

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     15 March   World Contact Day Today is World Contact Day. It was declared as such by the International Flying Saucer Bureau in 1953. Since then it has used annually as an opportunity for all those interested in doing so to send a message telepathically to any extraterrestrial alien in space who might be interested in visiting earth. Not to be confused with World UFO Day (24 June or 2 July depending on who you talk to), it was originally intended by “contactees” as a way of establishing not just that entities from other worlds existed, but that … Read more
Matthew McConaughey and Juno Temple in Killer Joe

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 … Read more
Driss shows Philippe the finer things in life in Untouchable

Untouchable

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     20 April   Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech, 1968 On this day in 1968, the senior Conservative British politician Enoch Powell made a speech in which he alluded to Virgil’s Aenid – “As I look forward, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’.” A Greek scholar who also spoke Urdu – Powell as an ambitious young man had set his sights on becoming the viceroy of India, only to find in later life that the Indians were coming to him – Powell was referring to … Read more
Franka Potente, Creep

Creep

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     10 January     London Underground opens, 1863 On this day in 1863, the world’s first underground railway opened in London, UK. It was called the Metropolitan Railway and it ran between several significant mainline railway stations – Paddington, Euston and King’s Cross – before terminating at Farringdon in the City of London. It was built to deliver workers to the booming financial and commercial heart of the country and empire, and was necessary because London’s too-numerous railway termini were removed from its centre. When railways had first arrived in the capital, none of the mostly aristocratic owners of … Read more
James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window

Rear Window

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     8 January     François Grimaldi takes Monaco, 1297 On this day in 1297, dressed as a monk, François Grimaldi (more properly Francesco, since he was Italian) was admitted to the castle at Monaco. Known as Il Malizia, “the cunning”, Grimaldi’s plan was simple – get inside, open the gates and then let his men rush the guards. This he did, and once his men, including his cousin, Rainier, were in he took control. For four years he ruled over Monaco, until he was chased out by the Genoese. He was the first of the Grimaldi clan to … Read more
Chen Suqin and Zhang Changhua at the Guangzhou Railway Station, Last Train Home

Last Train Home

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     8 November     Chinese engineers divert the Yangtze river, 1997 On this day in 1997, Chinese engineers diverted the Yangtze River, China’s longest, in order to clear the way for construction of the world’s biggest dam. The Three Gorges Dam was designed to announce the return of China as a player on the world stage – 185 metres high, two kilometres wide, costing $23 billion, able to withstand an earthquake of 7 on the Richter scale, generating the power of 15 nuclear power stations, a tamer of the Yangtze’s catastrophic floods. The project was not just huge … Read more

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