DVD Traveling

Theresa’s post last week about interesting travel literature inspired some pretty good discussion, and got me thinking. Now, I’ve been known to read a book here or there, and usually enjoy the experience, but in all honesty, I’m not really a book person. I’m more of a movie person. I just absorb things in a more visual fashion I suppose.

So with that in mind, and with tonight being Hollywood’s biggest night, I thought I would put together a list of my favorite “travel movies” related to the areas we will be headed. I’ve also been trying to gather some others that I might watch before we go, but I’ll let you guys vet them for me.

Darjeerling Limited (India) – a fantastic little film by Wes Anderson about a trio of brothers on a train. Just my style.

The Last King of Scotland (Uganda) – the rise and fall of infamous Uganda dictator Idi Amin as seen through a composite Scotsman.

Hotel Rwanda (Rwanda) – one man’s struggle to save hundreds against the genocide there.

The Constant Gardener (Kenya) – a corrupt drug company ruins a diplomat’s life in Africa.

The only movies in and about Africa seem to be serious downers. Anyone got anything a little more optimistic? You know, that would make me excited about going there?

Some other ones I would highly recommend (but not where we are heading) are Everything is Illuminated (Ukraine), Lost in Translation (Japan), the Bourne series (freaking everywhere).

Here’s some others I was thinking about checking out before we left (in no particular order).

Out of Africa (Kenya)

Bridge on the River Kwai (Thailand)

Gorillas in the Midst (Kenya)

The Motorcycle Diaries (Peru)

The Beach (Thailand)

Blood Diamond (South Africa)

Cry Freedom (South Africa)

Hostel (ok, just kidding about that one)

Would you recommend/not recommend these? What would you recommend for me? What movies have you all seen that would fit well on this list? Are there any foreign films that do a great job of capturing the spirit of a country? And what movies capture the essence and the idea of travel best for you?

21 thoughts on “DVD Traveling”

  1. I took a political science of developing countries course at Illinois and the class was centered around movies about the developing countries we were studying. I don’t really like movies, but there were some really good ones in that class. Unfortunately I cannot recall a single one (I took it freshman year). Sorry.

  2. Fuck, I mean “City of God”. I think any movie called “Kingdom of God” would have some religious connotations. “City of God” excellent movie. “City of God”.

  3. I’ll have to check out “City of God.” I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a South American-based movie. I can’t think of any right now, but I’m definitely not a movie girl. Theater trips and rentals combined, I maybe see five movies a year. If you think of any other good films from your class, let us know.

    And, hey, watch the f-bombs, this is a family blog. 🙂

  4. City of God, we’ll have to check it out. South America is not really the hotbed of films, it seems. But here’s a couple more I came across:
    Evita (Argentina)
    The Official Story (Argentina)
    Central Station (Brazil)
    Africa has been a hot film subject lately, but like I said above, they’ve all been depressing. There must be some good inspiring African movies, right? And how about a non-war film in Southeast Asia?

  5. Have you seen “Baraka”? It’s a little tough to locate sometimes, but it’s an incredible movie/documentary. It’s a collection of photographs/video of different cultures and bits of nature from 6 continents–I think it’s perfect for wanderers.

    “Tsotsi” is a great South African film–it’s kind of depressing (about gangs in Johannesburg), but it’s well done and thoughtful–even hopeful in a way. And it won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1995–if that sways you at all.
    “Out of Africa” is a great movie–again an Oscar winner– and although it’s about Europeans, it has beautiful scenery (Kenya, if I remember correctly).
    I think “City of God” is an amazing movie–it was actually filmed in the “City of God” in Brazil, and most of the actors live in the neighborhood depicted. It will not, however, make you want to go to Brazil.
    For non-war movies in Southeast Asia, I would suggest Gandhi. He’s anti-war as hell. :). And a real pick-me-up movie about Africa is totally “The Lion King.” It’s sad at first, but wait it out… the scenery is really worth it. 🙂

  6. I enjoyed “Tsotsi” and “City of God”, but they both kind of downers.

    I would recommend “Nowhere in Africa” also callend “Nirgendwo in Afrika”… as you may guess from the title it’s a German film based in Africa. It’s about a German Jewish family who immigrates to Kenya during WWII and I seem to remember that it’s not depressing so there’s something for you and Theresa 🙂 Also, it’s very very good.

    If you like documentaries, I highly recommend “Africa”, which was an eight part TV series created in 2001. It focuses on several different countries and is not depressing at all 🙂

  7. I really liked “The Gods Must Be Crazy.” There’s a movie by the same director called “Animals Are Beautiful People.” I can’t vouch for it yet, but it should be arriving via Netflix in the next day or so and I’ve heard it’s great.
    Other good movies are “Rain in a Dry Land,” “God Grew Tired of Us,” “Born Into Brothels,” “El Norte” and “¡Guantanamera!”
    Also, you should definitely check out “Gorillas in the Mist.” It’s awesome!

  8. “Nirgendwo in Afrika/ Nowhere in Africa” – German with English subtitles
    more realistic depiction of Kenya than “Out of Africa” and not depressing – really good movie depicting the struggles of German Jewish Immigrants trying to make a new home in a foreign land and culture

  9. As the first of I’m sure many follow ups to come on this post, I saw most of the Killing Fields last night, the 1984 fact-based movie about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the bond between a New York Times reporter and his Cambodian translator. The scenery was beautiful (though I imagine it wasn’t actually shot in Cambodia, since the movie ended with mention of how the Khmer Rouge were still in power), but the movie was profoundly disturbing. Though that was the point. It’s just horrifying the things they did to people. They must still be reeling from the “intelligence void” it left behind. It was a tough movie to watch.

  10. Although I have not seen it, the documentary on long term travel “A map for Saturday” has gotten lots of attention from the backpacker community… should be worth a look.

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