The Beach, Lost in Translation or On the Road: these are just a few examples of famous movies that inspire wanderlust. However, we wanted to dig deeper and go beyond the classics. We wanted to present movies that most of you probably haven’t seen or haven’t heard of. They are not exactly travel movies but every true traveler should see them. The reason is simple: they show certain places in a completely new light. That is how the list of 10 travel movies that you don’t know but should was born. We are convinced that you will love all of them.
1. A Bigger Splash – Pantelleria (Italy)
A new star emerged thanks to this very particular movie: the Italian island Pantelleria. This incredibly beautiful volcanic island close to Sicily gave a third dimension to the film filled with big names. Tilda Swinton or Ralph Phiennes are living a true drama under the hot Mediterranean sea. The story itself is quite simple. Marianne, a famous rockstar, is recovering after a voice surgery. Together with her boyfriend Paul they spend calm days on the island until the moment when her ex-lover Harry shows up. The things get even more complicated since his attractive daughter Penelope accompanies him.
Anyway, back to the island. The director shows a lot of love for it in the movie. From the stunning thermal spring Venus’s Mirror to the most popular resort Tenuta Borgia, everything is authentic. To make the story even more real you will have the chance to see the traditional way of making ricotta or a typical island village Scauri. There is a danger of falling in love with this place. Consider yourselves warned!
2. Leviathan – Russia
Let’s admit it: apart from Moscow or Saint Petersburg we don’t know much about other parts of Russia. It is a little strange since Russia is a huge country. In case you want to see more than that we recommend the movie Leviathan. A drama about a car mechanic Kolya living in the north country will make you reflect upon a lot of things. Kolya has a beautiful wife, a kid and a house that he loves. However, the mayor of a nearby is doing everything he can to get his property.
The whole movie was shot in different areas close to the Barents Sea. The southern half is important for Russia as it stays ice free throughout the whole year. The port Murmansk is a strategic point and the centre of fishing. If you’re wondering where the most impressive scenes were shot, it is the locality of Teriberka. Other places that made it to the film are Apatity or Monchegorsk, which can tell you more about the Russian reality.
3. Corn Island – Georgia
Not much happens in this movie. Those who like a lot of action will be disappointed. This Georgian movie depicts the simplest way of life and the complicated relationship between the man and nature. The river Inguri is a natural border between Georgia and Abkhazia. An old man comes across a tiny island created by the spring flood. He decides that it is a perfect place to grow corn and brings his granddaughter to start a new life.
The story proceeds idylically: they build a hut and start growing corn. The only sound you can hear is the river and the birds singing in the surrounding woods. The beauty and peace of the place is breathtaking. Moreover, you will be amazed by the harmony the main characters form with everything around them. You will want to join them and explore everything on their boat. Unfortunately, their happiness doesn’t last long but we won’t reveal any more details.
4. Winter sleep – Turkey
This movie is truly a masterpiece. Not only does it offer an astonishing work with camera but it also created a few unforgettable characters. So what is it about? Aydin, a former actor, owns a small hotel in Cappadocia. The high season is over and the snow is slowly covering the country. The characters become isolated and have a lot of time to think about the old sins.
Our favourite part is the way the movie shows Cappadocia in a new light. You can observe it through the eyes of a local. It looks like a sleeping beauty that intimidates you somehow. Guess what, Cappadocia wasn’t the director’s first choice. Whatever he had in mind at the beginning we are happy he decided to shoot the movie in Cappadocia. Like this we have both a great story and the most beautiful location we can imagine.
To find out more about Cappadocia check out one of our recent posts.
5. Wings of desire – Berlin (Germany)
There should be an activity called “Looking for the film locations of Wings of Desire”. You would follow the steps of the characters of this poetic black and white movie. Starting in the subway the last and the winning point would be the angel looking over the city. Every location has its importance. Wim Wenders wanted to express his love for Berlin by making his characters walk along the city streets.
The movie is about invisible and immortal angels who watch the Berlin inhabitants from above and protect them. In spite of a big number of people many of them are lonely. Damien, one of the angels falls in love with a woman. A beautiful but lonely acrobat Marion catches his eye. Damien is so fascinated by her that he decides to become a human. His only desire is to feel and live the love between two people to the fullest.
6. Only Lovers Left Alive – Morocco
Are you a hater of vampire movies? Forget about Twilight. This vampire drama with Tilda Swinton will change your mind. Adam is a musician living in Detroit and Eva is a poetess living in Tangiers. Both of them are more than 1000 years old. They are vampires who refuse to kill people in order to survive and only drink blood from hospitals. When they feel something bad is going to happen Eva returns to Detroit.
Jim Jarmusch has a keen eye for detail and he knows exactly how to make us fall in love with his locations. Since the characters only live in the dark we can only see the places at night. However, we don’t miss anything from the ancient Tangiers. Even in the dark we can see the oriental decorations and colours. Its tiny and mysterious streets bring us to a bar filled with smoke from shishas where we listen to a local singer. This is a place that you’ll want to explore and one of the travel movies that you don’t know but should.
7. Fitzcarraldo – Brazil and Peru
Do you know who’s the most funny-looking actor ever? No, it’s not Jim Carrey. It’s actually the German actor Klaus Kinski, who also plays the main character in Werner Herzog’s movie Fitzcarraldo. The adventurer Fitzcarraldo decides to build an opera house in the middle of the jungle. The director is famous for his perfectionism so you should know that all the scenes are authentic.
You can enjoy the beautiful Amazon rainforests but know that shooting a film there was not exactly a piece of cake. The scene where the Indians are dragging the ship over the mountain is real. Many members of the staff got injured and one guy got bitten by a poisonous snake. When we found out about this we started to appreciate the movie even more. Among the filming locations you can find Urubamba or Machiguenges in Peru or Manaus in Brazil.
8. Bashu, the Little Stranger – Iran
Some people consider Bashu to be the most important film in the Iranian cinematography. We confirm that it is definitely one of the travel movies that you don’t know but should. The story of Bahram Beizai’s movie goes like this: Bashu, a little orphan boy, is running away from the south of the country on a cargo truck. His family died in the war. The villagers don’t welcome him warmly. His skin is dark and he speaks a different language.
The only person that accepts Bashu is N’ai, a Gilaki woman who already has two kids of her own. A special connection starts between them and he even calls her “mom”. On Bashu the director managed to show a special relationship between man and nature. His post-war trauma and hallucinations is in contrast with the peaceful land around him. Even more when Bashu is playing a ritual game, imitating birds or scaring off wild boars.
9. Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams – Japan
One of the most important movie directors (not only) in Japan made a very particular movie. Kurosawa decided to shoot a movie inspired byt the dreams that he claimed to have had repeatedly. He divided them into eight parts. It is really hard to decide which of them is more impressive. One thing is sure: you will have the possibility to enjoy beautiful sceneries and get to know more about the Japanese folklore.
A Japanese legend says that when the sun is shining through the rain, the foxes have their weddings. In the director’s story a boy spots this secret ritual and had to go and beg the foxes for forgiveness. In another dream you can see the traditional Doll Festival, which takes place in spring when the peaches are in bloom.
10. Amarcord – Italy
Federico Fellini is one of our favourite directors and his image of Rimini is simply awesome. The movie is actually semi-biographical since Fellini grew up in Rimini. We watch the adolescent life of the boy Tita living in a small coastal town in 1930s when the fascists were seizing power in Italy. He is surrounded by a variety of bizarre characters. They are particular but each of them represents an Italian stereotype.
The director wants to show the irony of the Italian mentality. On one hand, they are full of joy and a little recklessness. On the other hand, they have an incredible respect towards the authorities such as Catholic Church or government. We totally recommend watching this film and even after watching it 100 times we still find it incredibly funny. It is one of those travel films that you don’t know but should.
Can you think of any other movies that should be a part of this list? Let us know in the comments!