Have a craving for Paris but can’t get there? Have a hankering to wander the streets of New York but your bank balance says otherwise? Always wanted to laze around the Greek Islands but never quite got to it? Then let the movies take you there. Here are some ideas for a rainy afternoon when the travel bug is biting but you can’t scratch it.
Travelling the World Through Movies
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Holly Golightly must be the quintessential New Yorker. Played ever so elegantly by Audrey Hepburn, Holly is a New York City Playgirl looking for a husband with money but what she finds is a writer with nothing more to give but his love. Filmed on the streets of New York, the jewellery store Tiffany’s also plays a central role. Holly is one of the most delightful and eccentric characters to ever hit the silver screen. Adapted from Truman Capote’s best selling novella, the score was produced by Henry Mancini including the beautiful ‘Moon River’.
Another quirky New York character, Frances Ha lives her life joyfully and with a lightness that is at odds with her situation. Played by Greta Gerwig, we follow Frances through the ups and downs she encounters as she endeavours to chase her dreams of being a dancer and finding the perfect New York apartment. It is a modern fable in which we explore New York, friendship, ambition, dreams, failure, loss and love. Beautifully rendered in black and white, look out for the scene where Frances dances and runs down the New York streets to the soundtrack of David Bowie’s ‘Modern Love’.
The second film in the “Before Trilogy’ (Before Sunrise came first, Before Midnight came after) this movie opens in the famed Shakespeare and Company Bookshop on the the banks of the Seine in Paris. Jesse and Celine first met in the mid-90s when they shared a few life altering hours together in Vienna. Fast forward nine years later and Jesse is now a successful writer giving a reading in the famous bookshop. Celine is in the audience. They spend the afternoon together wandering the streets of Paris talking of love, life and fate. In these few hours they have together will they be able to decide if they should share their futures? Filmed in ‘real time’, this one of those movies that is wistful and life-affirming.
LE FABULEUX DESTIN D’AMELIE POULAIN
(THE FABULOUS DESTINY OF AMELIE POULAIN)
Undoubtedly the most popular and well known of contemporary french films outside France, Amélie charmed audiences with her quirky innocence and naivete as she orchestrated the lives of those around her with a poetic sense of justice. Starring the beautiful Audrey Tatou this beguiling film was set in over 80 locations in Paris including the now funky and cool Canal St Martin. Beautifully filmed this delightful comedy will bring a smile to your lips as we follow Amelie’s meanderings through Paris.
I’ll say straight up this is not the best movie in the world but it has a cult following and was what inspired me to travel to Santorini. The story revolves around Michael and Cathy, two childhood sweethearts who are enjoying a summer break on the dreamy island of Santorini in Greece. With a beautiful villa on the cliff tops overlooking Santorini’s striking caldera, life seems perfect. Until Peter meets the mesmerising Lina, a french archaeologist who has a villa nearby. There ensues the most inspiring and passionate summer of their lives. The film’s locations are worth the watch on their own. While the acting is questionable – I’ll be the first to admit that – the film has a sense of freedom and optimism that is hard to ignore.
Mamma Mia! the movie
Who doesn’t love ABBA? Who doesn’t love Greece? Put them together and you have a sure fire winner. Adapted from the smash hit stage show, the all-star cast bring you the songs of ABBA in an extravaganza of dancing and singing. Bride to be Sophie is on a quest to find her father after finding her mother’s old diaries. She decides to invite the three possible contenders to her wedding. Will she find out which one is her father? How will her mother, played by Meryl Streep, react to seeing three of her past lovers on her island home? The locations are stunning, the music infectious and story weaves it way through the ABBA back catalogue perfectly.
Vicki, Christina, Barcelona
OK my number one reason for liking this film is the rugged and darkly handsome Javier Bardem. He plays Spanish artist Juan Antonio who captivates both Vicki and Christina, two American girls on a summer idyll in Barcelona. The story revolves around their intertwining relationships and the decisions they make at a pivotal time in their lives. It also stars the sensual Penelope Cruz as Juan Antonio’s tempestuous ex-wife Maria Elena, but it is Barcelona that is the real star. Their lives and loves are played out on the streets of that enigmatic and bold Catalan city. Good fun, light and breezy with just a touch of the bohemian.
Ah the delightful Audrey Hepburn again. In this film she stars as a royal princess who has had enough of the pomp and protocol and takes off into the streets of Rome to wander on her own. She meets a newspaper man played by the debonair Gregory Peck, who happens to be seeking an exclusive story pretending ignorance of her true identity. The movie follows them through the Roman streets as they tour the city’s sites and inevitably fall in love. This romantic comedy ranks as one the most enjoyable films of all time. This was Audrey’s first starring role and she won an Academy Award for her efforts.
Dev Patel’s star is rising – the Marigold Hotel movies and now Lion have proven him a talent to watch – but it all started with this gem of a film. Directed by Danny Boyle, Slum Dog Millionaire tells the fateful story of Jamal Malik an orphan from the slums of Mumbai who is one question away from winning on the Indian version of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’. Accused of cheating he is arrested and in an effort to prove his innocence tells the story of his life. He takes us back to the chaos of living in the slums, run-ins with local gangs, and to Lakita, the love of his life whom he has lost. But how is it he knows all the answers? His story reveals all. Warning: you will need tissues.
Set against the staggering backdrop of the Nepalese Himalayan ranges this film tells the story of an ancient mountain tribe who lead a caravan of yaks across the mountains carrying salt down to the plains. It explores the rivalry between the wise but ageing chieftain and a young daring herdsman who is questioning his leadership. Power, pride and love all play out in the magnificent but extreme landscape of the Nepalese peaks and valleys. Notably, all characters were played by real chiefs, lamas and local villagers.
Movies are an addictive way to experience the world when circumstances prevent us from going ourselves. If you have any suggestions for movies you would add to this list let us know in the comments below.