If you’re a movie buff, travel adds a whole new dimension to watching flims.
It happens in an instant. You’re watching a movie, maybe at a theater, maybe in your house. A wounded spy walks through the neon-lit night on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin. Bored teenagers lean on the wooden railing that leads into a covered bridge in Pennsylvania. An aging actor walks with his much younger girlfriend through Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, the world’s busiest intersection.
In that moment, you forget all about the actors, the plot, whether it’s a great movie or just barely watchable. The scene becomes the star. And if you happen to be in a theater, you may have to restrain yourself from jumping out of your seat, pointing wildly at the screen and shouting:
“I know that place! I’ve been there!”
Another advantage to watching movies at home. No need to restrain yourself.
Suddenly, you’re barely paying attention to the flick. Your mind is racing back to your moment in that spot, your days in that country. If you’re watching at home, you and your travel companion can reminisce it aloud. The memories come flooding back.
There’s something about having been there yourself that alters the film-watching experience. Others who see that same movie with you don’t see it, can’t see it, will never see it quite the same way that you do — not, at least, until they visit that place themselves.
It’s one of the gifts that travel keeps on giving, long after you’ve worn out the souvenir T-shirt.
it’s one of the reasons I’ve fallen in love with the whole “Bourne” series of films. You know..”The Bourne Identity”…The Bourne Ultimatum”…”The Bourne Supremacy”…”The Bourne of Desperation”…”The…oh, wait, never mind!
Even if you saw it a dozen times on televised reruns before visiting the place where it was shot, that 13th viewing — after having trod that same ground yourself — brings with it a whole new perspective. And it applies equally to feature films and documentaries, even TV series.
Escapism is so much easier to get into when you’ve “been there” for real.
An added bonus: When filmmakers use one location to substitute for another, you know it.
“Wait a minute! That’s not Los Angeles, that’s Oakland! That’s not Paris, that’s Prague! That’s not Milan, that’s Berlin…no, wait…now it’s Los Angeles!”
There’s something perversely gratifying about being able to do that.
So the next time you’re thinking about taking a vacation but can’t decide where to go, make a list of your ten all-time favorite movies. Then think back to the last ten films you saw, good or bad. Between those two lists, I’m betting you can come up with some locations you’d love to see for yourself one day.
Then go see them. Your nights out at the movies will be all the better for it.
As for me, I don’t watch foreign films for entertainment anymore. I’m scouting travel destinations!