Monday, 28 July 2014

Curated On Film: Shorthaul Destination Cinema

In the seemingly endless window of time between booking a holiday and arriving, nothing builds anticipation quite like settling down to watch a film in which your chosen location plays a starring role.

Whether it is a raucous road trip or couple's holiday, a beach-side retreat or a city break, taking in a plot weaved around your holiday destination also serves a practical purpose, with the potential to both uncover new, must-see sights and excursions for while you are there and make visiting the sites and attractions which appear in the plot even more fun.

Here's our edit of some of Europe's most popular destinations recently depicted in English-language films.


Midnight in Paris (2011) - pictured above

Woody Allen is truly one of the kings of destination cinema. And, true to his customary style, in Midnight in Paris the city plays such a key role that it is almost a character in itself. From the raucous and romantic Latin Quarter, to the towering majesty of the Palace of Versailles; the lazy flea markets to the grandeur of Musee Rodin, a seemingly never-ending list of Parisian highlights feature within this dreamy film. 


Marie Antoinette (2006)

If nothing else, Marie Antoinette is a stunning visual love letter to the Palace of Versailles and shows it at its resplendent best. From the sun rising over the perfect symmetry of the Grand Canal, to introducing a degree of humanity to the palace's rooms, which are otherwise missing from the museum sets in the palace we know today (take Marie Antoinette waking up in her sumptuous bedroom with a raging hangover, or the awkwardness of the couple's first night together in their bed chamber), this film is packed with sneak peaks into France's most famous palace and gardens which visitors are unlikely to witness themselves, and makes the short trip from central Paris to Versailles an absolute must-do.


Hanna (2011)

Finland, Morocco, Germany - the locations list for 2011's Hanna is both diverse and impressive. In fact, locations were so important to director Joe Wright that the film's finale was even re-written to incorporate one he felt implored to feature: Berlin's Spreepark. The eery beauty of this abandoned theme park, which lies gathering dust in the middle of the city's Treptower Park, receives significant airtime in the film's adrenalin-surging finale.


A Good Year (2006)

While thin on plot, anyone who has dreamed of starting a new life in the French countryside will on a surface level identify with this film, which takes in the stunning countryside and romantic lifestyle which this region is so celebrated for.


Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona (2008)

La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Park Guell...this film's set list boasts some of Barcelona's most iconic sights. And what's more, the sexually-charged storyline contains themes many travellers can identify with: from the sense of self-discovery that travel commonly provokes, to the differences that can become more pronounced between close friends during the pursuit of adventure.


The Tourist (2010)

While the plot is by no means Oscar-worthy, The Tourist follows a storyline which anyone who has travelled alone and found themselves making friends with a stranger, or daydreaming of a more exciting purpose behind their journey, will find romantic. While the storyline also takes in Paris, the climax of the film takes in Venice. Showcasing the city both by day and night, and taking in numerous highlights - including St Mark's Square and the Venice Guggenheim - it showcases the romance and glamour of this essential Italian destination.

We'd love to hear about your favourite films depicting holiday destinations - let us know in the comments section below.

- Abigail

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