Travelling is complicated, messy, exhausting, and above all expensive – so what do you do when you have a yen to be somewhere else, but you lack the time or energy? The answer, of course, is to hit play on a travel movie and be transported across the globe without leaving your couch. It’ll either satisfy that urge, or make it too strong to resist. Here are the five films most likely to make you spontaneously book a plane ticket out of dodge.
Even though it’s at times painfully realistic, including police brutality, child prostitution and life in the slums, this movie’s stunning visuals, optimistic attitude and thumping good soundtrack still inspire an urge to see India. After a full assault on your eyes and ears, it leaves you curious to experience it for yourself. This tale of a young man’s incredible life and how it leads him to win 1 million rupees on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is the push you need to plan a trip around the subcontinent ASAP.
The Motorcycle Diaries
If you’ve never seen this movie or been there yourself, you likely think of South America in terms of rainforests, football and Carnivale. Stereotype no longer – this road-trip-to-revolution story is the ultimate South American travel movie. Starring Gael Garcia Bernal as the young Che Guevara, it packs in hard-hitting social commentary along with the sweeping landscapes and backpacking woes. You’ll watch the slow beginnings of Latin America’s social conscience and be inspired to take off on a bike of your own, live off your wits and have an adventure.
Lost In Translation
Bill Murray plays a lonely actor in his 50s, lost in the mish-mash of glitz and tradition that makes up modern-day Tokyo. Scarlett Johansson, just 18 at the time of filming, is a 25 year old trapped in an isolating marriage with a husband who’s never around. The love story between them is just one part of director Sofia Coppola’s haunting debut movie, which does an excellent job of communicating the culture shock that Western visitors experience on their first trip to Japan. The bowing, the stares, the soaring skyscrapers and crazy fashions – it half makes you glad to live somewhere you can speak the language, and half leaves you longing for a glimpse of Mount Fuji.
Into the Wild
This one is based on a true story. Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) left his family, his home and almost all his possessions behind one day in the 1990s, and ended up travelling through the wilderness for two years. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going and had no map, but somehow he wandered through Alaska on his own and survived. For anyone who’s ever dreamed of chucking it all in and leaving society behind for good, this is a must-see.
The Gods Must Be Crazy
Not quite a travel movie, this hysterically funny comedy is set in Africa’s Kalahari. It somehow manages to be sensitive and slapstick at the same time as it follows Xi, a member of a Kalahari tribe who have had no contact with the world outside until a careless pilot drops a Coca Cola bottle into their village. Meanwhile, 1980s South Africa bustles along and what follows is exactly the culture clash you might expect. It’s South Africa’s most successful film to date, and with baboons, lions and honey badgers featured along the way, you’ll soon be longing for an African safari.