April 3, 2022 by shoenerca
In this clip, I have added a zoom in effect when Prof. Wierlacher says “Auma is one of the smartest African students I ever had.” The zoom focuses on the Intercultural German Studies textbook that the professor is holding. This first purpose of the added zoom is to draw attention to the irony of the statement made by the professor. Wierlacher is holding a textbook that he wrote on intercultural studies while committing a cultural microaggression against one of the students who helped him write it. The professor likely was not purposefully trying to be rude, however specifying that Auma was one of his smartest African students instead of just one of his smartest students in general implies that he views African students as less intelligent or less capable in some way. This is not the sort of mistake that you would expect a person who literally wrote the textbook on intercultural studies to make.
The second function of the zoom is to emphasize the significance of Intercultural German Studies in Wierlacher’s life. At the end of the clip, Auma states that Wierlacher became so consumed with his studies that, in the end, he forgot to acknowledge his students as individuals. In other words, Wierlacher allowed his studies to take precedence over his students. Auma and the other students put so much of their time and energy into assisting Wierlacher by giving him information about themselves only to realize that Wierlacher did not take the time to really appreciate them and their work, as illustrated by Wierlacher’s earlier comment.
To conclude, the added zoom serves to highlight the cultural faux pas made by the professor and to visually represent the predominant role that intercultural studies played in the professor’s life, at the expense of his students.