Whether you are stuck in the doldrums of another work week or enjoying some brief time off, we could all use some more time away. With that in mind, here’s part two of a guide to travelogue romances that’ll have you planning your next vacation:
Directed by: Tom Tykwer
Location: Saudi Arabia
Director Tom Tykwer and Tom Hanks previously paired on 2012’s underrated “Cloud Atlas.” Here they’re adapting David Egger’s novel of the same name. Hanks plays Alan Clay, a divorced man forced to travel to Saudi Arabia to give a sales pitch for a new holographic IT tech support technology. If all goes well, he’ll earn enough money to send his daughter to college. Yet more interesting than Clay’s domestic issues is the culture clash issues he faces with the cast of characters that he meets along the way, including a doctor (played by Sarita Choudhury) who manages to take care of him physically and emotionally.
Directed by: Woody Allen
I could have just as easily going with “Vicky Christina Barcelona” to represent Woody Allen on this list but “Midnight in Paris” is the happier, more hopeful film of the two. It features some stunning views of Paris both modern and retro as the central character walks around the city at night. The interesting hook is that at midnight a mysterious car comes along to take Gil (Owens Wilson), a nostalgic screenwriter, back to the 1920’s to hangout with famous artists and writers from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway to Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso.
It’s a charming little film that’s occasionally hilarious, occasionally romantic, but always engaging.
Directed by: Michael Curtiz
One of the best films of all time, “Casablanca” is a beautiful film of love lost and political intrigue. Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine, a cynical American expatriate who owns a nightclub in Nazi occupied Casablanca during the early stages of WWII.
Despite the palpable tension between the citizens of formerly French Morocco and their unwelcome Nazi overlords, the thing that really turns Rick’s life upside down is the return of his former lover Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman). To complicate matters she has arrived with her husband Victor Laszlo, a notorious figure in the Czech resistance.
Films don’t come more beloved than “Casablanca.” It’s the most quotable film of all time. Yet the most powerful lines remain Rick’s famous speech toward the end of the film.
Directed by: Jean Luc Godard
The feature debut of one of the most prominent directors of the French New Wave and one of the most creatively inspiring films ever made, “Breathless” is, at its heart, a romance even if it dipped its toes in several genres. It’s also a crime thriller and a near-parody of classic Humphrey Bogart films. It’s about a wannabe criminal and his American expat girlfriend who quickly find themselves in over their heads after he steals a car and murders a cop.
The beautiful score by French jazz pianist and composer Martial Solal elevates each scene by switching from dreamy romantic tunes to noir vibes and back again often within the space of a few seconds.
Godard famously had cinematographer Raoul Coutard hide his hand-held camera in plain sight, whether it was in a wheelchair, or on a cart being pulled around town so he could capture long takes of his leads walking and talking around Paris without attracting attention. If only for that reason, it deserves a spot on this list.
Directed by: Gustavo Taretto
Location: Buenos Aires
This charming film full of witty writing by director Gustavo Taretto, feels like a “Lost in Translation” set in Buenos Aires. The difference here is that Taretto’s characters aren’t foreigners dealing with culture shock. They’re introverts struggling to make connections in their home city. Funny how you can still feel lonely with so many people around.
Taretto also uses technology in interesting ways as well. It’s a beautiful little film that takes place in a city not often seen in mainstream media.
And there you have it, 10 romantic films (technically 12) taking place in other countries that’ll inspire you to start planning your next vacation. If you enjoyed this list or have a few favorites of your own, let me know in the comments below!