As the nights get longer and people look for cheap entertainment at home, more and more of us will be escaping to other worlds through movies. As an inveterate encourager of travel, I must ask you: which movies have left you with a strong impulse to GO to that place because it looked so (fill in the blank) romantic, scenic, desolate, ancient, or different from life as you know it?
I have been flipping through my catalog of enticing movies and want to cite some for your consideration. I am sure that my list will leave out some which you consider “must see” films. Some might even be the sort of movie someone ought to see before visiting the place which is featured.
If you need to be reminded why Paris is regarded as a writer’s paradise, see Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” The storyline offers a worthy argument for being happy in the life and time given to you, but the catalog of famous characters that make cameo appearances is a “Who’s Who” of influential Parisians.
Do you need to be reminded that Italy is worth a visit for romance? Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck famously escaped into ancient and modern Rome in “Roman Holiday.” Then decades later Marisa Tomei led Robert Downey Jr. on a merry chase as she searched major cities of Italy for her destined lover in “Only You.” (One highlight of this film has to be the drive down the Amalfi coast in an open roadster.)
When I visited Ireland in
September, our bus pulled off the main road at the sign pointing toward “The Quiet Man Bridge.” I had never seen John Wayne’s film with Maureen O’Hara which John Ford filmed in western Ireland. A few in our group seemed genuinely excited actually to walk across the stone bridge which offers John Wayne his first view of the cottage he has returned to Ireland to buy. Now I have seen “The Quiet Man.” The fighting and drinking of the movie were not evident when I visited, but I can vouch that the landscape, cottages and bar are still charming sixty years later.
If you seek wide open vistas as backdrops, I recommend “Motorcycle Diaries” (in Spanish with subtitles) about young medical student Che Guevera’s ride across much of South America. It is a wonderful road trip story and hints at experiences which later motivated the revolutionary. For wide open space without the mountains, scenes from “Lawrence of Arabia” deserve the biggest screen in your house. (In other words, don’t watch it on your iPad.)
Sometimes a film draws us in because it portrays a culture very different from what we know. I remember being fascinated by Ingrid Bergman’s missionary task, convincing Chinese families not to bind the feet of their daughters in “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.” One very enjoyable film which introduced a worldview I had not considered before is “Whale Rider.”
This is about a modern Maori girl who might be in line to be the next chief of her clan – except that she’s a girl.
In case you have adopted the idea I proposed two weeks ago about planning now for your next holiday in a very different location, here is an idea for your campaign: select a movie that highlights the destination (preferably a happy movie that shows it to advantage) and gather your intended group for popcorn and a miniature vacation to launch your real vacation.
There are SO many movies to consider! The entire world has been presented on the silver screen. What have I missed? Please reply to this email with your favorite destination movies. I am always happy to find more!
Boundaries divide. Travel unites.
13 December 2012