In addiction to being a travel addict with an ever nomadic heart and soul, I also happen to be a big movie and documentary fanatic. While I do enjoy North America film, I tend to be more attracted to international cinema. I like movies that take me places and not only showcase the landscape through beautiful cinematography but also highlight social and cultures issues of a particular location. These movies ignite the wanderlust in me.
That being said, I’m kick-starting a new monthly series called “Movies That Inspire Travel.” Here are the cherylhoward.com top three international movie picks for January 2013.
1) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – This adorable British flick is jam-packed with a stellar cast, including one of my all time favorite actresses Judi Dench. A bunch of retirees leave Britain and head off to Jaipur, India to begin a new life at a special hotel for the “elderly and beautiful“.
Image Via fromthefrontrow.net
It’s incredible fun to watch the retirees comically adjust to their new setting – some suffer from severe culture shock while others seem to embrace it with joy.
The film’s backdrop shows India as a colourful and lively country which I hope to visit someday! While it casts a rather light-hearted view on a nation plagued with many problems such as poverty and violence against women (as we’ve seen in the news recently), the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is still a great movie to watch.
Image via onmilwaukee.com.
With not one single word uttered throughout the entire production, the images in Samsara communicate powerful messages that move between beautiful moments (volcanic eruptions in Hawaii) to political ones (the slaughtering of animals at meat production facilities) to the religious (the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca) and even downright bizarre (a man sitting at a desk frantically applying clay to his face). This rather epic flick shows that the world is glorious, tumultuous and complex and made me ache to experience even more of it through my travels.
3) When We Leave (Die Fremde) – This film directed by Feo Aladag tells the story of Umay, a German born Turkish woman who takes her son and flees her abusive husband in Istanbul to return home to Berlin and seek refuge with her family.
Image via reelartsty.com.
Despite the suffering Umay endured at the hands of her spouse, her family encourages her to return to him due to the “shame” her actions brought upon them. Their determination to stay loyal to tradition trumps their love for their daughter, forcing her to start a new life in Berlin without them. It’s easy to root for Umay (a character brilliantly played by Sibel Kekilli) as she starts a new job, goes back to school and even finds new love and later sympathize with her repeated efforts to reconcile with her family.
Unfortunately, When We Leave ends on a tragic note and strongly reiterates the importance of dealing with the issue of violence against women. The director was actually moved to create this movie after producing various works for Amnesty International.
One of the best movies I’ve watched in a long time and takes place in my Berlin home.
Do you have any international movie or documentary recommendations? Tips are welcome in the comments.
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