Traveling through movies
One of the things I love most about movies is their ability to transport you to other times, places, or worlds. During the pandemic movies were one of the few outlets where I felt like I could get out and explore the world. Movies where the location is almost its own character like Midnight in Paris, Monsieur Ibrahim, or In Bruges can have such a powerful effect.
What movies do you find yourself returning to time and time again when you're getting the itch to travel?
The Witch and The Lighthouse are both fantastic, single-location movies set in the past. I mention these movies a lot because I love how immersive they are. The former doesn’t use any artificial light at all and is about as historically accurate as it gets for colonial America.
I was listening to Chapo Trap House's "review" of Eggers' new movie The Northman and they made an insightful comment about his work: that he is really good at depicting the people of the past as almost alien; the ways people thought about and interpreted the world around them were so different from modern society so as to seem like alien planets.
One underrated part of traveling is trying to wrap your head around the cultural differences, so kudos to Eggers there for really underlining those differences.
I've absolutely loved every one of his movies. He's quickly become my favorite director, which I don't think I had before. He has such a distinct style, and I think Wes Anderson—who somebody else in this topic mentioned, hah—might be the only director who outdoes him in that regard (at least for me).
The Before trilogy, The Darjeeling Limited, Samsara are some that immediately come to mind, I'm sure there's plenty of others I can't think of this moment.
I really enjoyed Before Sunrise (even if Ethan Hawk drives me up the wall a bit). It is a perfect example. Ditto with Darjeeling Limited. I've never seen Samsara so I will definitely add it to the list!
I certainly enjoy movies which transport me to non-existing worlds. Like James Cameron's Avatar, Blade Runner 2049, the new Dune, the Star Trek franchise, various Spielberg movies (Indiana Jones, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind...), as well as multiple super hero stories -- anxious for the new Dr. Strange!
Of all the movies that have a sense of character to their settings, they are not places I want to be. There's usually a lot of missing comforts as well as a lot of backwards-thinking individuals and the places tend to be on the brink of war a lot of the time, too.
The exception are science fiction films that feature near-utopian societies, in which case they seem to be a great place to do a short vacation. Passengers wasn't a good movie at all, but the ship they're in seems like it would be a neat place to spend a week.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is like THE traveling movie for me. It’s a gorgeous looking movie.