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a lack of character development, and the characters themselves, especially Costa, are not people you would generally want as friends. The story and characters are very thin. As the movie moves on and events become more chaotic, there is no sense that much is really at stake for the characters, who mostly seem happy that their party is a success.

PROJECT X

Dur: 192 mins Dir: Nima Nourizadeh.

Rating: A Two thousand and eleven was an average year for movies. However, there were more well received Rrated comedies than had been around for a long while. Bridesmaids, The Inbetweeners, Horrible Bosses, and Hangover 2 all raised the stakes for raunchy humour and seemed to try and outdo each other for the attention of audiences. Following on from last year’s slate comes the first of this year’s crop – Project X, from the producing team behind The Hangover. The film tells the story of three high school friends (Thomas, Costa and JB) who decide to throw a party to make names for themselves at their high school. The movie takes the ‘found’ footage approach where for the most part it takes the point of view of Dax, who is charged with filming the night’s events. I will not give away anymore plot but the party spirals out of control as events become more outrageous and unexpected This movie raises the stakes by showing effectively what is seen during the credits of The Hangover, in the snapshots of the forgotten bachelor party that sets the events of both movies in motion. From full frontal nudity, drug use, destruction of property, animal cruelty, to the angriest dwarf you will see on screen this year, Project X follows the chaotic party events in the first person, putting the audience right in the middle of all the action. This immersion is definitely the movies’ greatest strength. The aesthetic of the movie is strongly reminiscent of early Skins seasons. The movie’s greatest weakness comes from

Overall, Project X was a fun time at the cinema, putting you right in the middle of the action. There is no real moralising for the actions of the characters in this movie, which is refreshing; the audience is just along for the ride, and what a ride it is. Dave Buckles

The Witness and the Archive Agamben, Giorgio, Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive, 2002; Zone Books; London. The witness. The archive. The guilt. Before reading Giorgio Agamben’s Remnants of Auschwitz, I have to admit these terms, for me, summoned hazy reflections of the Second World War. Stubbornly opaque, they mirrored the silence that surrounds 1940’s Germany and the Holocaust, a period only partially visible in remade films and documentaries. Sepia-hued and shrouded in secrecy, the outing of, arguably, history’s greatest mistake left more than a little to the imagination. Agamben’s attempt at unfolding the multiple meanings of the Holocaust was

one that sought to clarify what really happened inside those gates. Using Auschwitz as an overarching metaphor for the concentration camp, the site of the travesty, he treads on ground that is both sacred and kept in thoughts, important but dangerous. However, Agamben’s study was a journey that he must have made: to keep what really happened a secret, he argues, would be to fulfill what Nazi Germany had wanted all along: to pretend that that history had never happened. Spread into three main parts, Agamben’s argument is solid; at least, as solid as it can be on such uncertain ground. In typically philosophical tradition, he begins with defining a term in several ways, later integrating it into the argument. His definitions span a vast array of well-known fellow academics, which strengthen his arguments. His research into what material is available on the largely silent subject is also quoted nicely within the piece, offering subjectivity to his study and demonstrating his careful entry into unspoken territory. The greatest merits, in my opinion, of the study are Agamben’s definitions of phenomena otherwise largely ignored. Shame, guilt, and the witness are key exemplaries of this, and he executes their place in the tract beautifully. They are, after all, simultaneous pillars of Holocaust literature and ones that are hardly ever explored - a definite addition to the confusion and silence that surrounds such trauma. Yet these phenomena are also ones worth exploring for their own merits, as, according to Agamben’s argument, they are key parts of our own humanity. They show what it is to be human, what it is to have limitations, and how we can use our knowledge of them to overcome those same limitations. Most importantly for the main subject, the final aspect of the witness offers a key to overcoming the silence and shame imposed by history. A rare look into the inhumanity of humanity, Agamben’s tract illustrates more than just an insight into Auschwitz: it shows us what simple terms frame our lives, our history, and our natures and what they actually might mean. Auschwitz is a portrait of what it means to be inhuman and how our worst features, combined, can turn; a bio-political nightmare-turned-reality that Agamben’s first steps will hopefully help decipher. Danielle Whitburn

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debate issue 3 2012  
debate issue 3 2012  

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