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Casino Royale is the 21st film in the James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as MI6 agent James Bond. Released in 2006, it was directed by Martin Campbell and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis. Casino Royale is set at the beginning of Bond's career as Agent 007, just as he is earning his license to kill. After preventing a terrorist attack at Miami International Airport, Bond falls for Vesper Lynd, the treasury agent assigned to provide the money he needs to bankrupt terrorist financier Le Chiffre by beating him in a high-stakes poker game. The story arc continues in the following Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2008). The film is a reboot, establishing a new timeline and narrative framework not meant to precede or succeed any previous Bond film. Casting the film involved a widespread search for a new actor to portray James Bond, and significant controversy around Craig when he was selected to succeed Pierce Brosnan. It is the third screen adaptation of Ian Fleming's 1953 novel of the same name. The film received largely positive critical response, with reviewers highlighting Craig's performance and the reinvention of the character of Bond. It earned over $594 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing James Bond film to date. (more...)

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Drawing of a Palenque relief

An ink-and-wash illustration of a stucco relief on a building in Palenque, a Maya city in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century, but was abandoned around 800. It was rediscovered in the 16th century, but remained mostly unexplored until 1773. This particular piece was likely constructed during the long reign of K'inich Janaab' Pakal (mid-7th century), and is thought to depict ancestor rulers or their parents. The standing figure holds a sceptre in the left hand, and in the right, a length of material. The seated figures adopt a posture of submission or deference, with hands placed on opposite shoulders.

Artist: Ricardo Almendáriz; Restoration: Lise Broer

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