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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Five C’s: Bringing a 1980’s Film into the 21st Century Chinese Language Learning Context

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Film has become an ever more effective medium of instruction in foreign languages, including Chinese. Developing good textbooks to accompany the films is too labor-intensive to keep pace with the growing production of contemporary films, so it is useful to develop strategies for using older films and existing textbooks. This paper examines how slight shifts in focus can overcome the issue of contemporaneity and bring out the qualities of an older film and accompanying textbook. The 1984 film Under the Bridge serves as example, and conscious attention to the “Five C’s of Foreign Language Education: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities” drawn up by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages serves as method. The paper shows how shifts in focus, rather than diffusing the focus on language, actually can strengthen the language learning experience. It reviews some more recent film guide textbooks to demonstrate why it is still worthwhile to bring this older film and textbook into the twenty-first century.

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