THEO MERTEN-MANCER reviews The Accountant of Auschwitz, a documentary about the recent trial of Oskar Gröning, a surviving member of the SS. A study released on Holocaust Remembrance Day this year found that two thirds of American millennials are unaware of what the Auschwitz extermination camp was. Survivors in their late 70s or older may remember experiencing the Second World War as children, however it seems that details of the conflict and surrounding events are fading from living memory. Matthew Shoychet’s new documentary serves as a contemporary reminder of the dreadful atrocities committed in the concentration camps of World War Two. Beyond this, The Accountant of Auschwitz explores crucial questions of justice and accountability. The documentary revolves around the 2015 trial of Oskar Gröning, a 94-year-old former SS officer who was charged as an accessory to the murder of over 300,000 victims in Auschwitz. His defence is one of moral disengagement:…Continue Reading

The Accountant of Auschwitz

HEATHER DEMPSEY reviews The Daughters of Fire as part of SAVAGE’s coverage of Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Festival.  In The Daughters of Fire, Albertina Carri reimagines the road movie through a daydreamy prism of eroticism. An unflinching take on female sexuality and desire, the film follows an ever-growing group of women on a cross-country trip through Argentinian Patagonia, and the making of a porn movie along the way. Expanding from core couple Violeta (Carolina Alamino Barthaburu) and Agustina (Mijal Katzowicz), the group can be loosely described as polyamorous lesbians, but the iridescent sexual identities of the women elude restrictive definition in Carri’s radical and intimate investigation of onscreen sensuality. A trip in every sense of the word, the plot veers indiscriminately from reality to fantasy, and through hazy amalgamations of both. Shunning the traditional trajectory of the classic road-trip narrative, it offers no distinct endpoint beyond a half-planned visit to a…Continue Reading

The Daughters of Fire

BEATRICE KANIKA TECHAWATANASUK compares the artistic styles of Klimt and Schiele in the exhibition ‘Klimt / Schiele: Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Vienna’ at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The Royal Academy exhibition of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele’s work marks the centennial commemoration of their craft. Both artists were modernists, secessionists, and expressionists who challenged convention and form. They distorted the body in a way never seen before. This exhibition offers an intimate glimpse into their rare and fragile drawings. More significantly, it allows one to observe the artistic influence the seminal Austrian artists had on each other, demonstrating the intimacy of a master-protégé relationship. The exhibition is organised thematically. Within each theme, the works of both artists juxtapose each other in subtle ways, inviting the viewer to make comparisons. Yet, despite their differences, it is undeniable that Klimt and Schiele’s works are strikingly harmonious. As you walk along…Continue Reading

Bodily Sovereignties

MIER FOO discusses the digitalisation of the fashion industry. A staggering one billion people now use Instagram. Over 72% of these users purchase a product they viewed on the app. Within seconds, carefully curated content can be propagated through millions of users worldwide. As a result, an increasing number of brands are turning towards social media’s immediacy to promote their advertising campaigns. This pervasiveness of digital media, specifically Instagram, has caused a revolution within the fashion industry, permanently altering the way brands interact with their consumers. Sponsored posts, ‘live’ stories, and endorsement from a rising number of ‘influencers’ has allowed brands to target the millennial consumer market at a substantially lower cost than traditional print marketing. It is safe to say that Instagram has surpassed legacy magazines as the main form of advertising. The media industry titan, Condé Nast, reportedly sustained losses of 120 million USD last year after suffering…Continue Reading

Reformations in Fashion

IMOGEN GODDARD explores the continuing relevance of Chaucer within a modern society obsessed with gossip and an increasing disregard of truth. Chaucer’s most well-known work may well be The Canterbury Tales which is full of hilariously bawdy poems and stories, but his dream-vision poems (written prior to this) tend to have a more serious underlying tone. Take The House of Fame (1379-80) in which he explores the distortion of truth and the dangers of celebrity culture. It remains engaging to the 21st-century reader despite its medieval origin by exploring ideas which are without a doubt of current relevance to us. The renowned House of Fame in the poem is filled with a cacophony of rumour, truth, and lies, all jumbled together and all vying for a position of authority and acceptance. This chaos within the house echoes certain struggles of modern society. Voices speak over one another, people gossip and…Continue Reading

Chaucer and the Distortion of Truth

HELENA WACKO explores the juxtaposition of aesthetics and crude reality in the work of photographer Mandy Barker. Every now and again, an image of sea turtles choking on plastic bags or polystyrene trash littered across shores complements headlines on the growing plastic pollution in our oceans. These unpleasant images have become commonplace to the general public. They are perhaps granted a brief concern by onlookers, but rarely a second look. Mandy Barker’s artwork greatly contrasts this salient indifference which plagues the comfortless images. She has devoted her career to photographing discarded litter from oceans collected from around the globe, ranging from the British shores to Hong Kong beaches. Her photographs are akin to celestial constellations. Plastic debris, which are the principal subjects of her images, are laid out to mimic the faraway asteroids mapped out onto our night skies. Her work, much like the cosmos, are a carefully organised chaos.…Continue Reading

Cosmic Plastic Constellations

NIAMH O’NEILL reviews Wild Nights with Emily as part of SAVAGE’s coverage of Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Festival.  Completely subverting the clichés surrounding its eponymous poet, Madeline Olnek’s witty comedy about the life of Emily Dickinson holds an important feminist undertone. Wild Nights with Emily is an entertaining albeit outlandish film, which highlights the much-needed rebranding of the famous literary figure. Mabel Todd’s (Amy Seimetz) fairytale-esque narration provides a continual reminder of the prevailing view of Emily, as a social hermit ‘who never went out and saw no one that called’. Todd reminds us to challenge any presupposed ideas we may have of the renowned poet. This quirky and unexpected film makes for an increasingly enjoyable watch, as the audience familiarises itself with the eccentric performances from the main cast. Wild Nights with Emily begins with jaunty violin music, which announces yet another period drama – a genre to which…Continue Reading

Wild Nights with Emily

MARIELLA BOMER discusses educational inequality and non-profit Teach First who are determined to change it. We live in a world of hyper-awareness, of instant accessibility to the latest social protests and outrages that ceaselessly clutter screens, radio and print. But from this commotion we seldom stop to pick out the voices silenced by educational inequality. Every social and political issue we scrutinise or condemn pertains to this problem – directly or indirectly – and yet our country has failed its teachers and their pupils. It’s one of the biggest social injustices in the UK, and its consequences are significant: of the global pool of top performers researched by PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) the UK represents 4.9%, compared to the 21.7% of the US. Immediate systematic change is unrealistic; change comes incrementally and from within. The vision of Teach First, a teaching enterprise established in 2002, grasps this perspective…Continue Reading

Educated for Silence

CHARLES STEVENSON, from Fossil Free UCL, recounts the recent activity of the society amidst signs that UCL might finally be divesting. Earlier this term, climate activist group Fossil Free carried out their latest protest at UCL’s investment portfolio: a die-in outside the office of UCL provost Michael Arthur. On Friday 16th November, students marched under a red ribbon intended to symbolise the human and environmental rights violations associated with climate change. The protesters then lay down in solidarity with the victims of climate change. Spokespersons for Fossil Free said the aim was to remind the university of the student and academic bodies’ continued rejection of the use of their money to support the fossil fuel industry. In this way, they hoped to emphasise the urgency of transitioning away from fossil energy in order to avoid climate breakdown. ‘Like tobacco funding health research’ is how Ben Franta, US Climate Activist and Stanford…Continue Reading

Fossil Free UCL: Update

ESME MILLER reviews The Whisper of the Jaguar as part of SAVAGE’s coverage of Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Festival. In the context of Jair Bolsonaro’s recent victory, a man with an unashamedly hostile attitude towards women, homosexuals and indigenous Brazilians, The Whisper of the Jaguar is desperately needed in the current socio-political climate of Brazil. In opposition to the conservative values promoted by president-elect, the film serves both to express LGBTQ+ pride and to highlight the beauty and current endangerment of the Amazonia. Within this framework, directors Simone Jaikiriuma Paetau and Thais Guisasola explore a myriad of dichotomous themes: the indigenous vs the colonial, the expansion of industrial capitalism vs the preservation of the Amazon rainforest, and sexual emancipation vs historically ingrained female oppression. The plot is introduced by the voice of Ana, a punk musician from the inner city. She is retracing the steps of her late trans sibling, Sebastian, an…Continue Reading

The Whisper of the Jaguar

JASPER NEWPORT explores the decadent party age of the 1920s and its moral implications in Fitzgerald’s literature. The Great Gatsby, perhaps the finest work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, encapsulates the Jazz Age. Immersing the reader in the extreme highs and lows of the time, the novel explores the doomed, tragic-heroic figure of Jay Gatsby as he seeks the love of his past in the decadent world that surrounds him. His story is a reflection of the context that inspired it; America is immersed in the gaudy, outrageous excess of 1922, visible in the rich imagery that catapulted Fitzgerald into literary fame. By examining the chaos of Gatsby’s parties, the extent of the cruel and corruptive wealth of this period is exposed. Readers feel the guilt and damage that decadence exacted on Americans, and understand Gatsby’s futile attempt to be a quiet, noble alternative to these extravagances. Let’s consider the significance…Continue Reading

Gatsby’s Parties: Uproar and Extravagance

CHIARA MAURINO analyses the representation of the environment in Seamus Heaney’s poems ‘Act of Union’ and ‘The Bog Queen’. The landscape has always been a vital theme in poetry. Artists of all ages have looked to their environment, be it natural or social, as inspiration for their works. But all too quickly we tend to associate natural imagery with romanticism, and with the sublime, the spiritual and the healing. We forget, perhaps, how the natural environment tells a story of its own, how it combines and couples with history to give its inhabitants a sense of national identity. Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney portrays the Irish landscape as a victim and an aggressor in his poems, thus exploring the connections between history, violence and the natural environment. Conforming to ancient Irish poetic traditions, Heaney creates an unbreakable bond between women and nature, which critics have taken to be a reference…Continue Reading

Violent landscapes: poetry and identity