Travelling is a state of mind.
Nothing proves it best than a good movie. For all the explorers out there, here are the best travel movies of all times. They made us ride on the Route 66, wander around Shibuya’s neon illuminated roads, climb the Himalayas… All in just two hours, without leaving our comfy couch.
Lost in translation (2003)
Sofia Coppola tells a story made of hotel rooms, editorial shootings and neon lights; all right in the heart of modern Tokyo. The point of view is that of two Americans lost in the oddness of living abroad. Living in Tokyo can be either very minimalistic or extremely congested; Lost in translation shows both of these sides, and Coppola depicts a city of edgy contradictions. Traditional and modern, oriental and occidental, day and night, they all turn into the alienating background for a subtle and yet extremely emotional romance. A smart plot unfolds between an intriguing scenario of crowded streets and temporary lodgings, matching with a seductive soundtrack that steals the characters’ soul, as if bearing a rare gift only for the viewer’s eyes.
As kids, Carl and Ellie dream of becoming explorers; up in the dusty attic of an abandoned house, they unleash their fantasies making plans for their exciting future towards the greatest adventure of all: finding the Paradise falls. Years pass by; first they fall in love, then get a job, marry, retire, and eventually Ellie dies. The old and solitary Carl finally decides to sail off to the Paradise Falls with an exceptional machine: a balloons propelled floating house. Disney Pixar’s Up awakens everyone’s deepest desires with a touching and human story of discovery and loss. Reminding us that an adventure could be waiting around every next corner.
On the Road (2012)
Jack Keruak’s rebellious youth novel left a mark in the 60’s literature. In 2012 this classic becomes a cinematographical tale about passion, vices and friendship. Set between the dusty roads of the USA’s in the 40’s, it follows the story of a young writer who leaves his home to experience the world. A group of future-less youngsters start their tireless pilgrimage between crazy loves, alcoholic nights and lawless trips. Everything outlined in a young writer’s diary that keeps him anchored to the present. On the Road shows the difficulties of living in an un-predetermined kind of life, where every step matters, and at the same time, is vain. Nevertheless, despite the differences, drugs and distances, the bonds created when walking on the same road are the ones that are going to last forever.
Into the Wild (2007)
Christopher McCandless is a successful young man whose life after college appears rich of incredible opportunities. Nevertheless, he decides to donate his savings, to leave his friends and family, ad face a journey of self-discovery through the United States. After a long trip, during which he signs himself on each places as Alexander Supertramp, he finally settles into the Alaska forest.
An intense, almost entirely one-man movie, partially based on second-hand testimonies as well as McCandless diaries, Into the wild shifts the viewer’s attention from modern society to individual survivalist needs. It imposes a reflection on human’s priorities, surfacing in a lonely, pure, dauntingly beautiful natural scenario.
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Wes Anderson’s ultra-detailed narrative style escorts three depressed and disoriented brothers through an Indian spiritual journey. A careful directorial trait merges with a sublime cast set in a colourfully chaotic scenario; that’s what makes The Darjeeling Limited an interesting exception to the more classic cinematic depictions of Indian customs and cults. Anderson’s attention to rituals and compartments is the link that connects claustrophobics interiors with unlimited exteriors, all drenched in his typically retrò colourfulness. Spiced up by a subtle irony and just a pinch of compulsiveness, this movie shows some kind of spiritual peace through the eyes of three neurotic brothers.
Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
Austrian alpinist Heinrich Harrer is sent with his crew to attempt climbing the Nanga Parbat in British India. When WWII breaks out, they get caught and detained as political prisoners. Harrer manages to escape, and with one of the members of his expedition they travel through the enormity and harshness of the Himalayan territory, reaching Tibet’s capital: the holy city of Lhasa. Here they’ll both learn the habits of kind and loving people, who live respecting spiritual laws in eternal accordance with their earthly lives. Through Harrer’s unusual friendship with the Dalai Lama, Seven years in Tibet unfolds a story about respecting different cultures tangled together by the course of events, balancing on the verge of the earthly and spiritual worlds.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Walter Mitty is an assets manager for Life magazine, one of the most influential magazines in the world. Yet Walter’s life is anything but influential. Everything changes when he is entitled for the printing of the final cover before the magazine goes only online. He’ll need to use the missing negative #25 from the latest shoots of the legendary photojournalist Sean O’Connell. That’s how the anonymous Walter jumps on the first flight to Greenland on a chase for the famous photographer and his mysterious shot. With spectacular aerial views of untouched Icelandic and Himalayan landscapes, The secret life of Walter Mitty is a tenderly inspiring movie that shouts “chase your dreams!” to the wanderers’ hearts.
Indiana Jones Trilogy
The Indiana Jones trilogy bewitched a whole generation of young explorers. Yes, it has its inaccuracies, and yet it can’t be denied that a huge part of its success comes from the always different places visited by the charming archeologist. From India to Egypt, Indiana travels the world to follow the thread which draws him closer to the solution of epic mysteries. Triggering a passion for both boundless culture and fearless action, Indiana Jones still keeps new generations of viewers locked to the screen. The unseen and forgotten places the archeologist visits are just part of the eternal charm that this movie series will always hold. Despite a certain tackiness, some naive traits, it remains an example of truly epic adventures.
Out of Africa (1985)
Out of Africa is a love story set in Kenya between a baroness/plantation owner and a hunter. Through incredible shoots of England and Kenya, this biopic written by Karen Blixen won seven Academy Awards in 1986, including Best picture and Best cinematography. The stunning panorama and the dynamic wildlife are what captured the heart of million viewers worldwide. The wide-open plains and big-sized animals will inevitably make you feel connected to the land and its natives. Watching Out of Africa will make you want to book your next safari immediately.
The Painted Veil (2006)
Set against the visually stunning backdrop of Shanghai’s countryside during one of its most dramatic periods of upheaval, The painted veil tells the story of a unique love story. Walter and Kitty make a mismatched couple, forced to deal with a Cholera epidemic that menaces their lives. Walter is a bacteriologist who has accepted to treat the virus; Kitty is a bored spoiled rich girl who unwillingly follows her husband. Playing on the very different points of view of both the characters, the movie unravels between misty rivers and overheated countryside, in all the natural hues of green. A delicate depiction of a mostly emotional journey; an astonishingly set alternative for even the most expert wonderer’s eyes.