Lights, camera, learning tips!

    Spotlight 4/2021
    red curtain
    © isayildiz/
    Von Vanessa Clark

    You may feel a bit anxious about watching an entire film in the original version. What if you don’t understand it? After all, a trip to the cinema should be fun, not a lesson! If you feel like this, then watch a film at home, where you can control the experience (and the popcorn is cheaper, too). With online streaming and DVDs, it’s never been easier. Read our tips to find out how to maximize your learning while enjoying a great film.

    First, choose your film

    Watch film trailerFilmvorschautrailers online to get an idea of the kind of language to expect — the accents, the speed and how clear the dialogue is — and, most importantly, to see whether the story to appeal to sb.jmdm. gefallenappeals to you.

    Give yourself a head start

    To make things easier for yourself, watch a film that you’ve already seen in German, or of which you already know the story. This will help you to understand the dialogue.

    Turn off the subtitles

    It’s temptingverlockendtempting to turn on the German sub­titles, but it isn’t always helpful. Your brain will struggle to take in both languages at the same time — and the more familiar language will win. A better idea is to select the English subtitles so that your eyes and ears receive the same message.

    Watch in small doses

    Watching a feature filmSpielfilmfeature film in English takes a lot of concentration. You might prefer to watch the whole film with English subtitles and then replay your favourite parts without them. Or you could watch a series instead of a film and to treat oneself to sth.sich etw. gönnentreat yourself to one episode per day.

    Don’t panic

    Don’t worry if you can’t understand every word. Don’t stop the film every two minutes. Try to relax and follow the story as best you can. The more you relax and “go with the flow”, the more you will take in.

    Watch, enjoy … repeat!

    If you have finished a film and enjoyed it, you could choose your favourite scene and watch it again. This will allow you to focus more intentlyaufmerksamintently on the language the second time round.

    Film tips

    Four films to try

    According to the International Movie Database, these are four of the all-time best films for learners of English:

    Dead Poets Society (1989)

    A new English teacher (Robin Williams) uses the power of poetry (see page 32) to inspire the boys at an elite, conservative boarding schoolInternatboarding school in the late 1950s. An emotional and moving drama that also has its moments of humour.

    Notting Hill (1999)

    A big American film star (Julia Roberts) meets a shy English bookseller (Hugh Grant) in this warm, romantic comedy set in London. It’s funny, it’s cutesüß, nettcute and the dialogue is clear.

    The Terminal (2004)

    An Eastern European tourist (Tom Hanks) is stuck at JFK Airport and has to make the terminal his home until he can sort out his papers. A heart-warming film with a simple story.

    The Intern (2015)

    A retired widowerWitwerwidower (Robert De Niro) is bored, so he takes a job as an internPraktikant(in)intern at a fashion company. His workaholic boss (Anne Hathaway) doesn’t really want his help, but his experience will prove to be useful. An entertaining drama.

    Ideas for teachers

    You’ll find lots of ideas for using film clips in the classroom in this issue’s Spotlight in the Classroom (free for teachers with a Spotlight subscriptionAbonnementsubscription).

    Neugierig auf mehr?

    Dann nutzen Sie die Möglichkeit und stellen Sie sich Ihr optimales Abo ganz nach Ihren Wünschen zusammen.

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