German A Level students from schools across Cheshire and beyond joined King’s School linguists for special a lecture on contemporary German film.
Organised by King’s former German National Teacher of the Year Jessica Houghton, the set piece lecture was given by Edge Hill University’s distinguished Professor of Film Owen Evans.
Owen discussed two seminal German films ‘Goodbye to Lenin’ and ‘The Lives of Others’ before asking students to dissect and analyse segments that examine the legacy of the German Democatic Republic.
Owen said: “I think it is fair to say that Germany has become the Liberal Leader if Europe and its film industry reflects key pan European themes such as the rise in populism as a reaction to multiculturalism and cross-continental migration.”
He added: “My session is designed to bridge the gap between Sixth Form study and degree level work, which has changed significantly in the last 20 years.
“When I was a student it very much a literary based programme of work in which we studied set texts to develop our language skills. Now students study film, politics, history, art, culture as well as literature giving a more rounded and rich insight into contemporary German values.”
“As far as German is concerned, we don’t just concern ourselves with work of the masters such as Fassbinder, Herzog and Lang but look at the great wave of modern film makers making ground breaking work in Germany.”
Currently 35 King’s students take GCSE German and seven are studying at A Level. Jessica Houghton said: “King’s is bucking the demoralising national trend of a decline in modern foreign language learning by offering an exciting and eclectic curriculum which fully prepares students for the challenges of today’s universities.”
“We are delighted we could share Owen’s insights with so many students from sister schools and broaden their horizons by revealing just a little of some of the innovative cinematic work now taking place in Germany.”
Jessica concluded: “What many overlook though, is that studying a language is a reward in itself: gaining a skill and investing effort in becoming better at something over a sustained period of time not only demonstrates great strength of character and resilience, but is enjoyable.”
Pictured are Jessica Houghton, James Nichols, 17, from Kings, Amelia Budd, 17, from Wilmslow High School, James Dickenson, 16, from Manchester Grammar School, Alex Stokoe, 16, from Tytherington High School and Professor Owen Evans.