Opening this weekend, Hank and Asha is a tale of two cities. During intimate video chats, a pair of long-distance lovers share their adopted homes, Prague and New York, as they plan a rendezvous in Paris.
To get ready for the 86th Academy Awards, we dedicated a recent Twitter Chat to discussing how movies have the ability to transport a viewer and even inspire future travel.
If, like me, you’ve been rushing around before Sunday’s star-studded event to see this year’s batch of Academy Award-nominated films, then perhaps you’re craving a vacation. These five trips—all affordable and in the U.S.—are inspired by films nominated for Best Picture this year.
The T+L Trip: Suburban Massachusetts and Boston
The real life ABSCAM sting operation took place in New York and New Jersey, but much of David O. Russell’s crime drama was actually filmed in suburban Massachusetts. That dry cleaning branch? It’s Reliable Cleaners, between Natick and Framingham; Irving Rosenfeld’s modest house that he shares with wife Rosalyn is in tiny Medford. Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza makes a cameo (it’s where Irving and Lady Edith Greensly celebrate their newly launched London Associates partnership), and to mark the Academy Awards, the hotel is offering the Oscar Party Package. Rates from $759 include a stay in a one bedroom suite, popcorn snack, in-room champagne, and Red Carpet Bingo—or just pop into the hotel for a drink and a self-guided tour.
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.
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.
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!
Sarah Spagnolo, T+L Special Correspondent & New Media Editor, @SarahSpagnolo
Marguerite Suozzi, Associate Research Editor, @maggiesuozzi
Lindsey Olander, Editorial Assistant, @lindseytravels
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.)
Eyebrows were raised in October, when Luc Besson’s luxe First movie theater opened in the new Aeroville mall near Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris. For €25, First gives you a spacious leather seat, a smoked salmon and tarama snack, and a flute of Champagne, orderable from a seatside tablet. “Mais c’est la crise!” said the local press, unsure whether such luxuries make sense as France’s economy remains sluggish.
Such questions do not trouble the hotel Le Royal Monceau Raffles, in Paris’s tony 8th arrondissement, with a clientele to match. Here an even posher proposition awaits the film buff, in the private screening room of the Philippe Starck-designed five-star: the just-debuted Sunday Night Film Club.
In this season’s hottest film releases, the settings nearly upstage the stars.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Headliners: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Backdrop: Another dystopian tournament, another paradisiacal setting (this time it’s Hawaii).
Scene Stealer: Katniss and her rivals battle it out by Kawela Bay, on Oahu’s North Shore.
Inspired? Stay where the cast reportedly did: Turtle Bay Resort ($$).
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (pictured)
Headliners: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris
Backdrop: The biopic, which features Elba (The Wire) in the title role, was filmed on location throughout South Africa.
Scene Stealer: Idyllic KwaZulu-Natal, where the activist’s wedding to Winnie Madikizela was shot.
Inspired? Visit Robben Island, where Mandela spent 18 years.
Want to walk (or run frantically) in the footsteps of Katniss and Peeta? Consider venturing to Atlanta, the primary filming location for Hunger Games: Cathing Fire, which opened last night.
The city's convention and visitors bureau has prepared a self-guided, two-day Hunger Games Tour. The CVB even recommends a hotel: The Marriott Marquis, where multiple scenes were shot.
Braver souls might consider the Hunger Games Unoffical Fan Tours, which run Adventure Weekends recreating the book and film trilogy's creepy competition. The weekends include themed accommodations, survival training, a gala banquet, themed food, archery tag, and a Hunger Games simulation. Details of what exactly the simulation entails are scarce—all the better to keep participating Tributes on their guard.