Birds of Passage
Earlier this week I saw the wonderful film Birds of Passage, directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra. From Columbia, and set in the Columbian desert, the film shows how a local community, rich with local traditions, is led by greed into trafficking marijuana. As you can imagine, this doesn’t end well.
Apart from the storyline, I was gripped by the alien landscapes, the foreign traditions and the vibrant textiles worn by the local Wayuu tribe. In terms of distance, I was less than a mile away from home, but I was mentally transported to the other side of the globe. When the film ended I felt as if I had almost visited Columbia. I had certainly learnt a lot about its culture, geography and languages. And all for less than a tenner! Without the hassle and environmental consequences of taking a plane trip.
From Roma to Shoplifters
Other films I have seen this year which have felt like a trip abroad and which, like real travel, have broadened my mind include Roma, Shoplifters and Burning. Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, takes you to Mexico City, where you experience a year in the life of a middle-class family, and find out in particular what it is like to live as a maid. Shoplifters, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, takes you to Japan where you live the life in a poor home, where shoplifting is a necessary part of survival. Burning, directed by Lee Chang-Dong, is my favourite of all the films I have seen this year. This takes you to South Korea where you get to experience slick city life as well as hard farming life.
For a more extensive list of brilliant foreign films, here are the submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.
The joy of the staycation
Sometimes, it is great to have a staycation, and for those of you who do not live in Cornwall and fancy a trip to the seaside, I highly recommend Bait directed by Mark Jenkin. This takes you to a fishing village where you can feel guilty (if you are middle class) about how local life is being affected by outsiders and their holiday homes.
Quick trip away
If you want a quick fix, there are always the TV ads, they can give you a quick injection of an exotic location, particularly car ads which often rely on fantastic scenery to show off the car, such as this one for Land Rover