Cinematic Travels

There is no end of films to make you fall in love with Paris.

BREATHLESS - PARIS
But it would be hard to find a better one than Breathless (original title A Bout de Souffle). Filmed entirely on location, Breathless offers documentary views of Paris in the sixties. Jean Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, the breathless lovers of Jean Luc Godard’s screenplay, get themselves into a lot of trouble as they wander aimlessly through the streets of the French capital.

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Paintings by street artists will give you a good view of Paris from Sacré Coeur basilica on the hill of Montmartre

CABARET - BERLIN
Serving up the Berlin of the 1930’s in all its stark reality, this musical won Oscars in exactly eight categories in 1973. Adapted from the novel by Christopher Isherwood, it was designated by cinema authorities as an important work culturally, historically and aesthetically. The film, which depicts the turbulent period before the Second World War against the backdrop of Berlin, documents Germany’s drift into Nazism under Hitler.

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The 61st Berlin International Film Festival will be held this year February 10-20. For information:
www.berlinale.de

ROMAN HOLIDAY - ROME
Considered part of their national heritage by Italians, Roman Holiday proves beyond a doubt that a city can be the star of a film. This film, which chronicles a love affair between a young princess from a royal family and an American journalist she meets on a trip to Italy, takes us through the streets of Rome like tourists. Millions are said to have made their way to Rome after seeing this 1953 production.
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You should stop at the Pamphilj Gallery on the Via de Corso to see rare paintings from the Renaissance.

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
This film is known to have been a major factor behind the increasing number of tourists flocking to Barcelona. Starring Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson, the film tells the story of the relations between four friends who hook up in the Spanish city. A personal discovery of Woody Allen, Giulia Y Los Tellarini composed the music for this film, which takes us into the everyday lives of Barcelona’s artist community.
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A pentagon-shaped area in the heart of Barcelona, the Gothic quarter, Barri Gotic, is one of the city’s must-see areas.

NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU - NEW YORK
In this entertaining film, consisting of shorts by 11 different directors, among them Fatih Akın, we find a cavalcade of famous actors from Orlando Bloom and Turkey’s Uğur Yücel to Natalie Portman and Christina Ricci. One of the best examples of a love affair with New York, New York, I Love You is a fast-paced production to match the city’s fast-paced life. Each story it tells portrays another aspect of life in the Big Apple.
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Ellis Island, once the gateway for immigrants to the United States, is a gigantic touristic area with a museum today.

CROSSING THE BRIDGE - ISTANBUL
By its full title, Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul, this film by Fatih Akın, a German director of Turkish parentage, won awards at the Berlin and Cannes film festivals. Depicting the city through its sounds and music, this 2005 production offers spectacular Istanbul scenes to the accompaniment of sounds and melodies from musicians like pop-rock singers Sezen Aksu and Erkin Koray to Turkish art music performer Müzeyyen Senar.
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The Cinema and Television Museum at Beyoğlu sheds light on the history of Turkish cinema. www.turvak.com

CASANOVA - VENICE
The amazing exploits of Casanova in the fairytale atmosphere of Venice… Winning plaudits for an amazing performance by Heath Ledger, who played the legendary Italian lover, this 2005 production can also be found in older versions. In this film that chronicles the mad life of the 18th century Italian writer and adventurer Giacomo Girolamo Casanova,  we tour Venice’s historic sites in the company of a fabulous costume parade.
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You can see all of Venice’s most elegant buildings by making a tour of the Grand Canal on the of city’s ‘vaporetto’ tour boats

CASABLANCA
Since 1942 when the film of the same name was shot, Casablanca is not merely the mysterious capital of Morocco but one of the most important repositories of our cinematic dreams - a magical landscape, with romance, surprises and danger of all kinds. Those who saw the film made their way to Casablanca to be able to say, just like Humphrey Bogart, “Play it again, Sam,” only to be sorely disappointed. Because the real thing was nothing like the Casablanca created for the filmset.
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Morocco’s unique ‘tagine’ meat stews come in 15 varieties, some of them made with lamb or even dove, and all served with rice pilaff.

THE INCREDIBLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING - PRAGUE
This striking film was adapted from the novel of the same name by Czech writer Milan Kundera. Set in 1968 Prague, it is the story of a love that is turned topsy-turvy when Soviet tanks roll into the city. As such, it takes us into the streets of Prague, where some of the most violent conflicts of the Cold War took place, a fitting backdrop for the passionate romance between Juliette Binoche and Daniel Day Lewis
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The Franz Kafka Museum on the banks of the Vltava River at Cihelna is a major stop on any tour of kafkaesque Prague. http://kafkamuseum.tyden.cz

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB – HAVANA
There is no doubt that this film played a major role in making Cuba an attractive country for tourism. Completed in 1999, this documentary is about a group of long-forgotten Cuban musicians in their nineties who come together again after many years. As we watch the film to the music of the group, named for a club where it once played, we are treated to scenes of 1960’s American cars, street musicians and vibrant human portraits.
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You can rent a nostaglic 1950’s car and savor the sea on the Varadero, Cayo Coco and Cayo Largo beaches.