Can’t swing a big vacation this year? Grounded travelers have a variety of excellent travel-related programs to choose from, thanks to some memorable movies. Investing in a high definition TV screen may be your only prerequisite.
Have you ever watched a film that literally moved you, as in got you down to the travel agency to inquire about package trips to exotic destinations? Or perhaps it had a more subtle effect, causing you to long for the comfort of a small country town or the bustle of a big city. Many films are set in recognizable environments, and some have glorified that destination forever.
Take Woody Allen films, for example. A true New Yorker, his features capture not just the scenery, but the essence of New York City. From ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ to ‘Annie Hall’ to the aptly-titled ‘Manhattan,’ Woody Allen has distinguished himself as the authority on New York City; from the grit to the noise to the attitudes to the fashion, he has documented the city for the past several decades. A favorite setting for filmmakers, New York is also portrayed wonderfully in other classic films, from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ to ‘When Harry Met Sally.’
The magic and romance of Paris can be seen in 1979’s ‘Romance’ and the charming French film ‘Amelie’, while Rome was forever captured through Audrey Hepburn’s eyes in ‘Roman Holiday’. ‘Lost in Translation’ took us to Tokyo, while ‘Before Sunrise’ found viewers enjoying a beautiful summer day (and night) in Vienna. ‘Out of Africa’ gives viewers a glimpse of the rich beauty of eastern Africa.
‘The Endless Summer’ is a classic travel film, shot the world over, using marvelous beaches as its backdrop. In search of the perfect wave, young surfers globe-hop from Hawaii to Africa to Southeast Asia, soaking up rays and snapping photos of the stunning white beaches, palm trees, and rocky cliffs they spot along the way. Speaking of far-off beaches, remember the island from 2000’s aptly-titled ‘The Beach’?
The New Zealand board of tourism marked a sharp increase in the number of annual visitors over the past few years, and it’s easy to see why – ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy was shot on the dramatic landscape provided by the tiny island nation, glorifying the wondrous natural beauty of the place, best seen in HD. And who can forget ‘Whale Rider,’ a glimpse into the rich culture of New Zealand indigenous peoples, the Maori?
‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ has had a similar effect. Charting the overland travels of a young Che Guevara, the film, set to hauntingly beautiful music by Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla, captures the imposing beauty of South America and evokes the simultaneously lively and melancholic atmosphere of the continent. From the endless Argentine pampa to the glorious Andean fjords to the stark beauty of the Altiplano, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ will give travelers the itch to get themselves moving south for winter. This is another one that should be reserved for vivid high definition screening – the details will truly pop.