I’m a huge movie lover. I would love to go to Cannes and Venice for their film festivals. The glamour. The glitz. The fantasy. Despite the extortionate prices, going to the cinema is still a decadent treat to me.
As well as being fun, film has also inspired me to see the world. Here are some of the films that helped develop a sense of intrigue and passion for certain destinations.
Death in Venice – Venice
Death in Venice tells the tale of a weary author who comes to Venice to reinvigorate his soul. There he falls in love with a young boy named Tadzio whom he perceives as the personification of youth and beauty. The film is weary, slow and surreal and the true star of the film is Venice, so full of mystique and charm. It’s a peekaboo city where you can slyly stalk around narrow corners. You never quite know what you’ll find.
Taxi Driver – New York
It might seem an odd source of inspiration but Taxi Driver, starring Robert DeNiro as a taxi driver slowly floating into insanity as he drives around New York at night compelled me to see the city. Yes, the film portrays a city of degradation and filth (not exactly top of anyone’s list when it comes to going away) but it also showcased a city of splendour, a gargantuan playground where anything could happen and the darkness was compelling.
Dennis – America
Pretty much all of the films I saw as a child inspired me to see America. It seemed like everything happened there. It was big, beautiful and full of characters. One of the films that sticks in my mind to this day is Dennis. I was captivated by the neighbourhood games of hide and seek, the white picket fences and the community feel.
Mrs Doubtfire – San Francisco
The Mrs Doubtfire House in San Francisco is on my bucket list. Located at 2640 Steiner St, this quaint and charismatic row of homes utterly charmed me. I’ve always heard good things about San Fran and I hope to get over there at some point to see the magic for myself!
Spirited Away – Japan
Okay, Spirited Away is an animated film that bears no resemblance to actual Japan but it gives an interesting glimpse into the eccentricity and quirkiness that lurks under Japan’s polished exterior. Japan did not disappoint. It’s beautiful, teaming with delicious food and a real collaboration of culture, spirituality and technology with a zany feel.
Romeo + Juliet – Brazil
Whether you loved it or hated it who can forget Baz Luhrmann’s kaleidoscopic and crazy reimagining of Romeo and Juliet? Transported to Brazil, this film was bright and brilliant and ignited a fire in me to see this colourful country.
Leon – Little Italy, New York
Leon, starring a young Natalie Portman is still one of my favourite films. The story of an assassin (played by Jean Reno) who takes a young girl under his wing as she plots revenge on the corrupt cops who killed her family. Again, this perception of New York wasn’t full of the glitz and glamour we are used to – it was grubby and real and I wanted to go!
The sight of Matilda’s apartment complex is the Chelsea Hotel, which sadly was under renovation when I went to New York. I did manage to get a picture out front though.
The Beach – Thailand
Another Leo DiCaprio classic, The Beach portrayed Thailand as a true escape where you could cut off from the world completely. When you think of Thailand, you picture tiny sun soaked islands, emerald waters and complete paradise. Yes, there is a sleazier side to the land of smiles, but there are still places where you can feel largely at one with nature. It is definitely a backpacker’s hub and probably always will be but The Beach is what brought me here. I wonder how many travellers that is true for?
Pretty Baby – New Orleans
Starring a wide-eyed Brooke Shields as Violet, Pretty Baby is a dark and decadent look at old New Orleans. The scene of the crime was the Columns Hotel and there is even a cocktail named the Pretty Baby which you can enjoy as you take in the sultry feel of this city. New Orleans is a city I just have to get to and I hope to do so soon!
The Lord of the Rings Franchise
New Zealand wasn’t really on my radar until I saw Peter Jackson’s fantastic film franchise on the big screen. The varied, gorgeous landscapes and the epic story catapulted viewers into a believable Middle Earth. Fortunately, the country does not disappoint. It truly is that beautiful.
Film is a great gateway into the world, as are books. Yes, sometimes they create illusions, stereotypes and fantasies about travel (for example London is always posh, New York brutish and France chic) but they also invite us to explore for ourselves and to create our own realities there.
What films have fired you up to travel to a particular place?
All my love,