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Apocalypse-Cinema2012 and Other Ends of the World$
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Peter Szendy

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264803

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264803.001.0001

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Cloverfield, or The Holocaust of the Date

Cloverfield, or The Holocaust of the Date

(p.15) Chapter 3 Cloverfield, or The Holocaust of the Date

Peter Szendy

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the significance of the date in Matt Reeves' Cloverfield (2008). According to Derrida, a date is in effect something that testifies. But it is a witness that can witness only if someone else in turn witnesses in some way for its testimony. In effect, it must be possible to repeat the date; it must be possible to cite, mention, celebrate, or commemorate it—and even remember it in advance—in order to make history. That is to inscribe its mark, which should nonetheless also be unrepeatable since it is supposed to attest to the singularity and incomparable uniqueness of an event that happened here and now and never anywhere else. Yet the testimonial structure of the date is also what, in the gap of the repetition that inhabits it, turns it into a holocaust. It is what burns it, the date and everything to which it testifies. The unique date, condemned to be repeated and thus to annul itself as such in order to be a date—this is the drama that takes place in Cloverfield. This is the holocaust that burns in the flames of the final explosion where Rob and Beth, those last witnesses, end up dying.

Keywords:   dates, Cloverfield, holocaust, apocalypse-cinema, apocalyptic film, apocalyptic genre

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