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Transport yourself around the world without leaving your sofa with this wanderlust filled set of 17 films. Filled with self discovery, picturesque settings and, at times, poignant endings, you’ll be sure to have the trip of a life time!
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
This film is a concoction of culture; from the way the soothing music plays to exotic scenes of India through to the humour and passion of the pensioners, played by the likes of Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith. The Best Ecotic Marigold Hotel is a feel good film without a doubt, and it is nice to see India through the perspective of the older generation. The bright colours accompanied by the bonds formed in the film makes for a sweet family flick.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
The forever beautiful Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson star in this strikingly beautiful Parisian film. Set in luxury tourist Paris in a beautiful five-star hotel, Wilson, who plays a more reflective, yet still humorous part in the film, travels back in time to a party with F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Cole Porter. Owen Wilson plays Gil who is besotted with the city of love. Woody Allen typically loves cities in his films and Paris is the perfect setting to mix romance and classical writers.
50 First Dates (2004)
For the rom-com lover! This film is hilarious but equally awe-inspiring as we watch Lucy Whitmore, played by Drew Barrymore, suffer from memory loss. Starring Adam Sandler as a flirtatious yet charming marine biologist, the movie is played out to a backdrop of blue seas, white sand and Hawaiian culture. Henry has to concoct new ideas all the time in order to woo Lucy, which is comical and charming at the same time.
The team who mixed and designed the soundtrack to this film must know that a whistled song can be a hiker’s lone companion for days. Based on the book, Wild, which can also be found in our ‘books, tracks and travel apps’ section of Holdall, Volume 1, shows the journey of Strayed, who in 2005 age just 26, walked the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs up the entire Western spine of the USA from the Mexican to the Canadian border to get clearance in her head after a grim decade of loss and personal meltdown.
Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
This film is truly breath-taking and opens your eyes to life’s many ups and downs and the discoveries and lessons we experience on our journey of self revelation. A coming-of-age film tale featuring Gael Garcia Bernal as 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who later would become the well known, iconic Marxist guerrilla commander, Che Guevara. At the beginning, at home with his bourgeois Buenos Aires family, Ernesto (Gael García Bernal) is not Che, but “Fuser” and the film shows the transition perfectly, in a truly captivating recreation of events.
The Beach (2000)
When I first watched this film, I could not believe I hadn’t seen it before! Filmed in Thailand’s Maya Bay (which can be visited for your own slice of paradise) stars a young Leonardo DiCaprio in this poignant, thrilling, romantic and, at points, funny film with incredible views of Thailand. DiCaprio is your stereotypical backpacker, on a journey to “find himself” but what he actually finds is quite the surprise. Director Boyle seems to let the whole thing drift along aimlessly for a while but there’s something quite pleasing in this, as the film replicates that feeling of being on holiday and taking things easy. The movie is based on the 1996 novel of the same name written by Alex Garland.
Thelma and Louise (1991)
Hailed as a feminist manifesto for the 90s, this film featuring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis is an undeniable classic… oh and yes, Brad Pitt is in there somewhere too! Again this movie is all about that freedom of being on-the-road and the brilliance self discovery as the ladies-turned-fugitives create chaos that begins to spiral out of control. It’s a film that appeals to the outlaw in all of us with an all star cast.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
A rueful comedy about two American women who get their quota of cultural European intake over a summer. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz, the celebrated painter Juan Antonio, played by Bardem, takes hold of both the ladies hearts in what is a wholly intriguing, sexy film from start to finish. That narration, which weaves in and out of the story like a thread, is spoken by the actor Christopher Evan Welch, this works so well because it makes the film humorous and light hearted.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Possibly one of the most bizarre movies I have ever laid my eyes on, but then I suppose that is what makes it so fantastic! Set in…yes, you guessed it…Budapest, the incorporation of an all star cast, (Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Owen Wilson and Saoirse Ronan to name a few) makes for lots of laughs. A young lobby boy called Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) first comes to the concierge’s attention and the journey of teaching him the ins and outs of the hotel escalates to a place far removed from normality.
Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper (1969)
Easy Rider is the pioneer of the road movie genre which originated in the United States. Hell, we won’t ever get enough of watching legend Peter Fonda riding his stars and stripes-painted Californian styled chopper on the endless Southwest American roads. Easy Rider tells us the story of two freewheeling bikers, Wyatt alias “Captain America” (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), riding across America. The movie emerges us into America’s heartland, the hippie America of the 70s, and explores the existing social tensions in the country in 1969. From southern blues to Johnnie Walker, drugs and highlife, the opening scene “Born to be wild” will make you dream of the motherland.
On the Road, Walter Salles, 2012
On the Road is a recent American road movie, adapted by Walter Salles in 2012 from Canadian Jack Kerouac best seller written in 1957.Read the book prior the move and embrace the intense, off-the-tracks story of a life-time traveller and his different encounters across America. Both the book and the movie illustrate America’s Beat generation of the early sixties, a literary movement rejecting materialism and the quest of spiritualism across America. The characters include the cheeky Marie-Lou (Kristen Stewart), the nonconformist Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), and the writer Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) who doesn’t really know where he’s heading … But still follows Dean and Marie Lou.
The Revenant – Alejandro Inarritu, 2015
The Revenant was last year’s most expected release. The director, Alejandro Inarritu, became instantaneously famous for his attention to detail, his love for realism and precision, his willingness to present historic scenes in an accurate way. The Revenant thrusts us into the heart of a wild, hostile land across Wyoming and around Missouri river in South Dakota in 1823. The landscapes are sublime; enormous mountains covered in snow, thick trees and freezing rivers … The kind of environment that strongly dissuades you from going for a hike… However violent this film can be –we will not forget Leonardo Di Caprio’s fight with the grisly- it demonstrates how powerful and dreadful Nature can be, and how hard it is to survive in the wild, especially when temperatures reach -40 °C.
Forrest Gump, Robert Zemeckis, 1994
Forrest Gump is a classic. His story starts in Alabama where he sits next to Jenny, and continues in Vietnam where he is sent to fight the war, Washington where he takes part in a hippie protest with his soulmate, and back home to good old Alabama. The rich, harrowing life of Forrest is a funny, original way of learning about the main American events occurred between the 50s and the 80s. If you have already watched it, don’t hesitate to watch Forrest Gump again. You will never get bored of his adventures!
Life of Pi, Ang Lee, 2012
The Life of Pi the fantastic, magical story of a boy from India crossing the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat accompanied by a strange surprising creature, Richard Parker the tiger. The initial story takes place in Pondicherry, north India where Pi’s father owns a zoo. Appearing as a real life fairy-tale, it takes us back to Paris for a moment, when the hero tells us why his father chose to call him Piscine Patel (a tribute to a swimming pool in Paris, France). Then, Pi’s father is forced to sell his zoo in 1977 and embarks on board of a Japanese ship (Tsimtsum) transporting the family and the zoo animals to Canada. When the boat sinks a few days later, Pi has to survive on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and a tiger. A visually transcribed experience on how to live life.
Australia, Baz Luhrmann, 2008
A wonderful romance starring Nicole Kidman and sexy Hugh Jackman that teleports us to Faraway Downs, a farm in the county of Kimberley, North Australia. In 1939, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole) travels down from England to convince her husband to sell his cattle station in South Australia. She will then meet with “the Drover” (Hugh Jackman) charged to take her husband’s cattle across the Australian plains to Darwin for sale. You will find yourself enchanted by the sensual, beautiful encounter of the two best Hollywood actors and their intense trip from Aboriginal Australia to the north of the country.
Whatever Lola wants, Nabil Ayouch, 2007
Whatever Lola wants is an exotic romantic comedy, which follows the path of Lola (a New York blondie) travelling from the West to Egypt, where she wants to learn belly dance. She gets lessons from belly dance star Ismahan and becomes the first American professional oriental dancer in no time. A gripping, deliciously sensual insight into oriental cultures and dances, Whatever Lola Wants will make you want to shake your hips to the rhythm …
Blood Diamond, Edward Zwick, 2007
Set during the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991-2002), the film stares Leonardo Di Caprio (yes, again) and Jennifer Connelly and depicts Sierra Leone, torn apart by the struggle between the government and insurgent forces (the Revolutionary United Front). Danny Archer (Di Caprio) is a gunrunner jailed for intending to smuggle diamonds to Liberia. He escapes the prison of Freetown with an inmate called Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) and goes on a mission to find the pink diamond, the biggest diamond in Africa. Their captivating adventures across the fascinating African wilderness are touching and unforgettable. The movie also shows shocking images of enslaved child soldiers from the RUF (the Revolutionary United Front) forced from their early age to threaten and persecute so-called “rebels” from their own country.