Travel movies

The Way Back (2010)

Director:

Peter Weir

Starring:

Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell

Synopsis:

In 1941, three men attempt to flee communist Russia, escaping a Siberian gulag. The film tells their story and that of four others who escaped with them and a teenage girl who joins them in flight. The group's natural leader is Janusz, a Pole condemned by accusations secured by torturing his wife, spent much of his youth outdoors, and knows how to live in the wild. They escape under cover of a snowstorm: a cynical American, a Russian thug, a comedic accountant, a pastry chef who draws, a priest, and a Pole with night blindness. They face freezing nights, lack of food and water, mosquitoes, an endless desert, the Himalayas, as well as many moral and ethical dilemmas throughout the journey towards freedom.

IMdB Rating: 7

Why watch?

For lack of infrastructure, the movie couldn't be actually filmed in Russia, Mongolia and China, but the producers did a good job recreating the weather and terrain of the original trek in more film-friendly countries such as Bulgaria, Morocco and India. You'll hardly notice while watching. The movie will help you grasp the immense vastness and desolation of Siberian and Mongolian landscapes.

Film locations:

Russia

Mongolia

Malta

India

Everest (2015)

Director:

Baltasar Kormákur

Starring:

Jason Clarke, Ang Phula Sherpa, Thomas M. Wright

Synopsis:

The story of New Zealand's Robert "Rob" Edwin Hall, who on May 10, 1996, together with Scott Fischer, teamed up on a joint expedition to ascend Mount Everest, the hightest point on Earth. With little warning, a violent storm strikes the mountain, engulfing the adventurers in one of the fiercest blizzards ever encountered by man. Challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the teams must endure blistering winds and freezing temperatures in an epic battle to survive against nearly impossible odds.

IMdB Rating: 7,1

Why watch?

Most of us will climb no further than Everest Base Camp. This part of the trek is a piece of cake in the movie (although it isn't) and is covered in the first five minutes with footage of Lukla, the high bridge before the Namche hill and the Namche Bazaar. When our trek stops at Everest Base Camp, the movie really begins. Watch it to get an idea of the hardship, danger and risks involved when climbing further.

Film locations:

Nepal

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Director:

Simon West

Starring:

Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen

Synopsis:

Video game adventuress Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artifacts.

IMdB Rating: 5,8

Why watch?

For shots of the famous Ta Prohm temple of Angkor Wat, aka the Tomb Raider Temple.

Film locations:

Cambodia

2 Days in Paris (2007)

Director:

Julie Delpy

Starring:

Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg, Daniel Brühl

Synopsis:

2 Jours - 2 Days follows two days in the relationship of a New York based couple - a French photographer Marion and American interior designer Jack - as they attempt to re-infuse their relationship with romance by taking a vacation in Europe. Their trip to Venice didn't really work out, - they both came down with gastroenteritis. They have higher hopes for Paris. But the combination of Marion's overbearing non-English-speaking parents, flirtatious ex-boyfriends, and Jack's obsession with photographing every famous Parisian tombstone and conviction that French condoms are too small, only adds fuel to the fire. Will they be able to salvage their relationship? Will they ever have sex again? Or will they merely manage to perfect the art of arguing?

IMdB Rating: 6,8

Why watch?

The movie, entirely filmed in Paris, is reflective of some typical, but true clichés of Parisian life. You'll also recognise some film locations such as the metro station Pasteur and Jim Morrison's tomb on the Père Lachaise cemetery.

Film locations:

France

Transsiberian (2008)

Director:

Brad Anderson

Starring:

Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley

Synopsis:

After a period of volunteer work with needy children in China promoted by his church, Roy and his wife Jessie decide to travel to Russia by train on the Trans Siberian Railway. Roy is a naive American with a great passion for locomotives and Jessie, an aspirant photographer, is haunted by her past image as a "bad girl". During the journey, they share their cabin with a Spaniard, Carlos, and his American girlfriend, Abby. At one station Roy get's off the train to look around other trains in the yard but is left behind; Jessie decides to wait for him at the next stop, and Carlos and Abby stay with her. While waiting for Roy, Carlos invites Jessie to travel to the countryside with him where they see a ruined church in the middle of nowhere. Carlos tries to force Jessie to have sex with him, and Jessie kills him with a plank. Jessie does not report the crime and meets with Roy on the next train. Roy introduces Grinko, a narcotic division detective, who is sharing the cabin with him. Jessie finds out that Carlos was trafficking drugs and scared, she tells many lies to them. However the experienced Grinko does not buy her story.

IMdB Rating: 6,7

Why watch?

Get an idea of what life is like aboard the Transsiberian Express, although I hope your experience will be better.

Film locations:

Russia

Malta

An Idiot Abroad: China (Season 1 - Episode 1) (2010)

Director:

Krishnendu Majumdar

Starring:

Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant

Synopsis:

Ricky and Stephen send Karl on his first trip to perhaps Karl's worst nightmare: China. The reason that Karl is so afraid of this locale is that what he is exposed to of Chinese culture - that being solely his local Chinatown - he does not understand at all, and he is afraid that if he gets a taste for some exotic Chinese food, such as toad, he won't be able to find it when he gets back home. On his itinerary is Beijing, the Great Wall of China (which he ends up believing is not great but a sham), and Shanhaiguan. Stephen also surprises him with some excursions, namely to a fortune teller (the thoughts from who Karl takes to heart despite not wanting to experience it since he does not want to know bad news in advance), on an extended trip to lesser section of the Great Wall, to a kung fu school where he is not only a spectator but also a student, and for a traditional hot massage, which is a little hotter than he would like. Karl has perhaps the most issue with the public restrooms, where there are no doors on the toilet stalls, and the food. Although he can avoid the street food which is unusual to him, he can't avoid the meal prepared for him on his remote visit to the Great Wall.

IMdB Rating: 8,3

Why watch?

Learn why you shouldn't visit the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China, and discover the charms of the abandoned, crumbled off Jiankou section. Get a taste of local food and learn some basic Kung Fu.

Film locations:

Malta

An Idiot Abroad: Trans-Siberian Express (Season 2 - Episode 2) (2011)

Director:

Krishnendu Majumdar

Starring:

Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant

Synopsis:

Karl takes the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to China. On the trip, he experiences a Russian steam room, undergoes Cosmonaut training, meets a magnetic man, gets buried alive, competes in a wrestling match, and visits a dwarf village.

IMdB Rating: 7,6

Why watch?

Are you sure you want to travel the transsiberian in Platzkartny?

Film locations:

Russia

Mongolia

Malta

The Eagle Huntress (2016)

Director:

Otto Bell

Starring:

Aisholpan Nurgaiv, Daisy Ridley, Rys Nurgaiv

Synopsis:

This spellbinding documentary follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl who is fighting to become the first female eagle hunter in twelve generations of her Kazakh family. Through breathtaking aerial cinematography and intimate verite footage, the film captures her personal journey while also addressing universal themes like female empowerment, the natural world, coming of age and the onset of modernity.

IMdB Rating: 7,5

Why watch?

For astonishing views of the Altai mountains and footage of the Eagle Festival.

Film locations:

Mongolia

Anastasia (1997)

Director:

Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

Starring:

Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd

Synopsis:

The daughter of the last Russian Tsar, Nicolas II, Anastasia is found by two Russian con men, Dimitri and Vladimir, who seek the reward that her grandmother, the Dowager Empress Marie, promised to the ones who'll find her. But the evil mystic of the Tsar family, Rasputin, still wants the Romanov family to be destroyed forever.

IMdB Rating: 7,1

Why watch?

The movie is based on the history of the Romanov family that was murdered after the February Revolution. As the remains of daughter Anastasia were not found, it was believed that she might still be alive. (This is the case in the movie, but not in real life.)

Film locations:

France

Russia

The story of the Weeping Camel (2003)

Director:

Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni

Starring:

Janchiv Ayurzana, Chimed Ohin, Amgaabazar Gonson

Synopsis:

Springtime in the Gobi Desert, South Mongolia. A family of nomadic shepherds assists the births of their camel herd. One of the camels has an excruciatingly difficult delivery but, with help from the family, out comes a rare white colt. Despite the efforts of the shepherds, the mother rejects the newborn, refusing it her milk and her motherly love. When any hope for the little one seems to have vanished, the nomads send their two young boys on a journey through the desert, to a a backwater town in search of a musician who is their only hope for saving the colt's life.

IMdB Rating: 7,5

Why watch?

For those who enjoy watching camels during 1h30.

Film locations:

Mongolia

The Last Emperor (1987)

Director:

Bernardo Bertolucci

Starring:

John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole

Synopsis:

This sweeping account of the life of Pu-Yi, the last emperor of China, follows the leader's tumultuous reign. After being captured by the Red Army as a war criminal in 1950, Pu-Yi recalls his childhood from prison. He remembers his lavish youth in the Forbidden City, where he was afforded every luxury but unfortunately sheltered from the outside world and complex political situation surrounding him. As revolution sweeps through China, the world Pu-Yi knew is dramatically upended.

IMdB Rating: 7,8

Why watch?

It is the first Western feature film that received permission to film inside the Forbidden City.

Film locations:

China