Have you ever watched a movie and thought ‘I wonder where they shot that, it looks amazing!’? You probably have, it’s only natural seeing as one of the greatest factors of film is that it allows us to escape reality, not just through gripping stories and great characters but often through amazing locations. I watch a lot of films and I always end up Googling some with interesting locations that catch my eye. Here’s the first few that entered my mind…
CANNES – ‘To Catch a Thief’
I was actually inspired to write this blog because just the other day I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief where the majority of the scenes were shot in the luxurious French cities of Nice and Cannes in the Côte d’Azur. Though this film was produced in 1955 and I’m sure there will be considerable differences to the cities now, I still wanted to go there right away. To me, it looked just as beautiful then as we see it now presented in the media. I suppose film has inspired me to visit Cannes in more ways than one seeing as I get that same desire to visit every year when The Cannes International Film Festival comes around. It’s the beauty and chic sophistication of the area that intrigues me to visit so much. It’s interesting to me to experience other ways of life that are different to my own. Cannes is a very exclusive and expensive area and I want to see it for everything it may be famous for – its luxury hotels, shops and restaurants, its grand villas, the wealthy people who live in them, and of course the picturesque views. My ultimate dream would be to visit when the film festival is on so I can experience this too, as my second passion after travel!
HAWAII – ‘The Descendants’
When watching The Descendants, it didn’t just make me want to go to Hawaii by the end of the film, it made me want to be in Hawaii for the entire duration of the film! Most of the production for The Descendants took place in Honolulu and around the area of Hanalei Bay. The exotic beach scenes with the bright blue skies and the sun-shimmered sea were enough to make me want to be there, but there were other parts of this film which really drew me to Hawaii. Perhaps they’re the more insignificant factors, perhaps I’m just strange, but they stood out to me. For example, the idea of walking around in Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops every day and being accepted like that, because everybody else is doing it – this to me is the perfect community and style all wrapped in one! If I could walk around in Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops I would, but I would automatically be judged because I live in England! Also the names of the places and people are sometimes so unique and I like that, I don’t generally like anything that sounds too common or ‘everyday’. Another bonus was the soundtrack of Hawaiian music, the kind of music that could send me to sleep – I mean in a good way, because it’s so delicate and tranquil. We all need a bit of calm in our lives and all of these little things would make me a very happy person in Hawaii. Definitely holds a high position on my travel list.
TOKYO – ‘Lost in Translation’
A couple years ago I went through a phase of appreciating women in film, I think it must have been after Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win an Oscar for best film and I couldn’t believe it had taken 80+ years of the Academy Awards for that to happen. So anyway, I started watching films directed or written by inspiring women, and some of these included films by Sofia Coppola. This was literally the only reason that I came across Lost in Translation with Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, otherwise I may never have watched it and the thought to visit Tokyo may never have entered my mind. Johansson and Murray play two American’s whose paths cross in Tokyo when they are both temporarily staying there for separate commitments. They form a bond through their joint feelings of loneliness and confusion in what seems to be a curious and at times strange city. The film very much portrays social realism in Tokyo which makes it great to watch if you’re planning on traveling to Tokyo in the future and you want to learn more about the culture, the streets and your surroundings in the day-time and night-time when you’re there. The scenes at night in the city with all the vibrant, colourful, flashing lights from the buildings had me straight away! -Even better, the sequence when Johansson takes a day trip to visit the Nanzenji Temple in the beautiful surroundings (including all those pretty cherry blossom trees) in Kyoto. I’m very thankful for Lost in Translation!
LAS VEGAS – ‘Ocean’s Eleven’
Leading up to my trip to Las Vegas, I only ever recalled the scenes I had watched repeatedly in Ocean’s Eleven – I loved this film and particularly enjoyed watching George Clooney saunter through the hotels and casinos, oozing coolness. But I didn’t really have a clue what to expect when going to Vegas and the truth is after the 10-hour flight and time-difference it took me a day or two to actually adjust to the 24/7 buzz and energy that surrounds the Las Vegas strip. Going out in the evenings was when I was reminded of Ocean’s Eleven the most. Strolling through the casinos – especially those in the luxurious hotels such as The Bellagio, The Venetian and Mandalay Bay, I started to see the Ocean’s Eleven scenarios that I had always imagined in my mind. Men in tuxedo’s and women dripping in jewels (I’m not kidding, these people really put on a show when in Vegas). I remember walking past the high-limit rooms and watching the gentlemen deep in thought and puffing on cigars as they gamble away their money. I remember passing a jazz pianist in the Bellagio who looked up and gave a warm smile and subtle wink. I genuinely thought any minute now, George Clooney and Brad Pitt are going to walk by in their tuxedo’s smiling at me too ever so smoothly. Needless to say, that did not happen but I honestly enjoyed every part of my experience and I’m keen to return in a few years for some more fun!
So there are my 4 films, although now I can remember even more – maybe I’ll write a Part 2 blog one day! What movies have you seen with great locations that have given you the urge to visit? Comment below and let me know!