This paper explores, within an ecological perspective on language learning (cf. van Lier 2004), the valuable role that translation as adaptation can play in mediating and making sense of cross-cultural experiences in the multilingual language classroom. The aim is to develop a multilingual pedagogy that includes translation as adaptation as an integral part of the language curriculum in order to foster translingual and transcultural competence, this being the goal of foreign language education in the 21st century (cf. MLA 2007:2). The first part of the paper introduces the theoretical framework that conceptualises translation as being closely related to adaptation. It then analyses salient scenes from Gianni Amelio’s bilingual drama La stella che non c'è/The Missing Star/L'Étoile Imaginaire (2006) filmed in Italy and China and screened in competition as part of the 2006 Venice Film Festival. Moving on from research to pedagogic practice, the final part of the paper outlines a teaching unit that is based on the film and is aimed at undergraduate L1 Chinese learners of Italian and L1 Italian learners of Chinese. The objective of the pedagogic unit is to raise awareness of the transformative power enshrined in linguistic and cultural exchanges mediated by audio-visual translation as an eminent example of adaptation.