Yesterday, students got a taste of German cinema directly from an expert in the field.
Randall Halle, professor of German film and cultural studies and chair of Germanic languages and literatures at the University of Pittsburgh, delivered a lecture last night called "Berlin - Istanbul: Complex Connectivity and Cinema Spectators."
"[Halle] has a much more optimistic perspective on culture," said Assistant Professor of German Jill Smith, who helped organize the visit. "The great thing about him is that he crosses a lot of disciplines."
"He uses social science methods to analyze film and film spectatorship from a variety of different angles of different angles," Smith added.
Because Turkey is not a part of the European Union, Turkish cinema in Germany is of particular interest to Halle.
"In the political realm, there is still a lot of resistance to opening of European borders," said Smith. "[But] With the border of European nations becoming ever more porous, the question is what kind of films are coming out these days."
Germany's film industry is one of Europe's largest film markets and Germany is one of the world's largest film-producing nations.
"They are no longer simply 'German' or 'French' films, but usually transnational productions," Smith added.
Halle's lecture discussed the complex cultural and social dynamics at work in a Turkish-language cinema located in a migrant neighborhood in Berlin, Germany.
"In his new book, he's using audience surveys from a Turkish cinema in Berlin," said Smith. "The audience members, who are mostly second and third-generation Turks living in Germany, see these movies as a connection back to Turkish culture."
Before the lecture, Smith's Global Germany class got the opportunity to speak with Halle. They discussed the film "Edge of Heaven," which was screened on campus last week, in German. Halle also had lunch with members of Bowdoin Queer Straigh Alliance and with Smith's senior students yesterday afternoon.
"His first book is on queer theory," said Smith. "He's been very engaged with the gay community for years."
Halle has attended and participated in the Berlin International Film Festival, a major festival for independent films featured around the world.
"He's definitely savvy and up on the [film] scene," said Smith. "I do see him as someone who bridges between the humanities and sciences very well and pays respect to both types of disciplines."
Halle received his B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. in German Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent the last academic year as a Senior Fulbright Researcher in Berlin.
Halle's lecture was sponsored by the German department, film studies department and the gay & lesbian studies program, among others.