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Q&A With Ritesh Batra: Director of the Film “The Lunchbox”

Director Ritesh Batra’s debut feature film, The Lunchbox, a charming epistolary romance set in Mumbai, is steeped in nostalgia. As it traces an unlikely relationship between a curmudgeonly widower, Saajan (Irrfan Khan) and a neglected housewife, Ila (Nimrat Kaur)—all triggered by a delivery mistake, courtesy of the city’s supposedly foolproof lunch couriers, or dabbawallahs—the film also showcases the many faces of Mumbai: a frenetic, resilient, and monsoon-pelted metropolis.

While The Lunchbox has already captured hearts outside its native India, thanks to a splashy international premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival (it also screened at the Sundance Film Festival last month), it hits select theaters in New York and Los Angeles tomorrow (February 28th).

T+L caught up with Batra, who regularly shuttles between Mumbai and New York, to discuss his adventures in filmmaking.

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Inside Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson's Latest Film

Director Wes Anderson takes T+L on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Grand Budapest Hotel, his latest film opening Mar. 7. 

For his new release—which stars Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and Ralph Fiennes as a debonair hotel concierge—Wes Anderson traveled though Eastern Europe on a hunt for set locations and characters. “I like working abroad because the whole process is an adventure, and it’s the most fun way to learn about a place,” he said. One takeaway: “Prague has been all cleaned up, but Budapest still has a little bit of a time-warp feeling.” Known for creating meticulously crafted sets and fictional worlds, the filmmaker borrowed references from Ernst Lubitsch musicals, Jugendstil architecture, and Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain for his own version of a grand hotel in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka. Here, a view from the director’s chair.

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Movies + Travel Twitter Chat on Tuesday, February 25

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A great film can transport the viewer to a different time and place. When it comes to travel, we all have that one movie scene that will forever invoke the desire to visit or revisit a destination (Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, anyone?). To get ready for the 86th Academy Awards, we'll be discussing how movies can inspire travel with experts this Tuesday, February 25th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Join along in the chat!

The Hosts:

Sarah Spagnolo, T+L Special Correspondent & New Media Editor, @SarahSpagnolo

Marguerite Suozzi, Associate Research Editor, @maggiesuozzi

Lindsey Olander, Editorial Assistant, @lindseytravels

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Call for Applications: T+L’s 10th Annual Global Vision Awards

Global Vision Awards

We're looking for a few good travel companies that are changing the world.

Now in its tenth year, Travel + Leisure's Global Vision Awards recognize the standard-bearers for responsible travel—companies that are investing in the communities around them, protecting natural and manmade treasures, lightening their footprints, and inspiring others to follow their lead. From airlines to hotels, tour operators to cruise lines, the winners represent the travel industry’s best ideas for a better world. (You can find the 2013 Global Vision Awards here.)

Please drop a note to TLGlobalVision@timeinc.com if you know of a company or organization that should be among this year’s winners, or encourage them to submit an application, available here. The deadline is April 1, 2014.

Related Links:
2013 Global Vision Award Winners
Coolest Up-Close Animal Encounters
T+L Hiking Guide

Photo by Ralph Lee Hopkins/Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions

New Crowd-Sourced Exhibition Explores Boston's Love Affair with Impressionism

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston today is opening a new exhibition, “Boston Loves Impressionism,” showcasing 30 masterpieces carefully curated by…the public.

To choose the artworks for display, the MFA held an online contest that saw a staggering 41,497 votes cast over three weeks in January. And with one of the world’s largest Impressionist collections at their disposal, voters had quite the challenge. Who were the winners?

Among the top 30 scorers are perennial favorites by Cassatt, Cézanne, and Pisarro, with first-place going to Van Gogh’s Houses at Auvers. Water Lilies from Monet and Degas’s charming Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer—the only sculpture in the running—round out the top three.

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Star-Studded Santa Barbara Film Festival Celebrates its 29th Year

Last week, T+L was in Santa Barbara for the 29th-annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, an 11-day celebration with panel discussions, nearly 200 film screenings, and tribute events that honor Academy-Award frontrunners and mega-watt celebrities, including Cate Blanchett, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

We hit the red carpet before the Virtuosos Awards, asking breakout stars for their bucket list travel picks. The answers? June Squibb (in Nebraska) plans for a Hawaii respite and a Japanese animation-inspired trip to Japan for Michael B. Jordan, star of Fruitvale Station. (Watch the video above for more.)

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The Armory Show Celebrates 100 Years at the New York Historical Society

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The exhibition, “The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution,” at the New York Historical Society, is a don’t-miss, by any standard. The original show was organized in 1913 by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and represented the first large-scale exhibition of modern art in the United States. So large scale, in fact, that the 1,300 paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and decorative arts had to be displayed in an unconventional space: New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory (located on Lexington Avenue, between 25th and 26th Streets). The exhibition introduced the American public to European modernity and a clutch of stylistic “-isms,” including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. It shocked and provoked. It also marked a turning point in the country’s cultural life.

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Celebrate The Beatles' 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago today one of the biggest pop acts in history touched down at John F. Kennedy Airport for the first time. They were whisked into a press conference at the Pan American Airlines International Arrivals building, as dubious journalists tried to figure out if these guys were for real, and 4,000 adoring fans waited outside, hoping to catch a glimpse of the new British band, The Beatles.

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Renzo Piano’s New Pavilion for the Kimbell Art Museum

Renzo Piano Pavilion

A masterpiece of 20th-century architecture just got a new neighbor. The stark concrete-and-travertine forms of Fort Worth’s 1972 Kimbell Art Museum—designed by Louis Kahn and famous for skylit vaults that diffuse the silvery Texas light—has been joined by a Renzo Piano annex. The addition, constructed of silky, pale concrete and whitewashed wood—and respectfully distanced from the original building by a grove of elms and red oaks—also uses sunlight to great effect, filtering it through a diaphanous glass roof shaded by computer-controlled louvers. “The light seems ethereal. You can almost feel it,” says Eric M. Lee, the museum’s director. The building will house temporary exhibitions as well as the Kimbell’s pre-Columbian, African, and Asian art, freeing up space in the main building for European painting and sculpture. And how does the Piano pavilion compare with its iconic predecessor? “It’s like looking at a Titian and a Rubens,” Lee says. “They come from the same tradition, though they each have their own definite style. You’d never mistake one for the other.”

Photo by Robert Polidori, courtesy of Kimbell Art Museum

Haitian Singer Leyla McCalla Sings of Love and Heartbreak On Debut Album

Born in New York to Haitian parents, and now living in New Orleans, Leyla McCalla delivers an uncontrived blend of rhythm and folk on her debut album, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, out this week. Behind each pluck of her cello and every soulfully sung lyric, there is cultural influence and unfiltered emotion. Whether singing in English or Creole, Leyla's intent is clear; she wants you to feel.

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