5 years, 3 months ago
It’s too early to tell whether 2013 will be a vintage year for movies. If Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby is anything to go by we’re not that optimistic (although expecting a subtle rendering of Fitzgerald’s iconic novel was possibly a big ask from the man who has yet to see a film he didn’t think he could improve with a Disco Ball).
On the plus side the slightly shell-shocked looking audience leaving Gatsby’s Cannes’ screening were unanimous about one thing, ‘it looked good’. And since that’s been our experience of quite a few recent movies we thought we’d scout some of our favourite locations for you from the 2012 crop of still-fresh-in-our-mind blockbusters (and a few right old turkeys set in pretty places), pay our own tribute to some spots that outshone everything else and possibly inspire you to create some classic scenes of your own this summer.
Here are the briefs and the locations, all you need to do is guess the movies – answers at the end.
Our hero (previously known for interpreting Free Running through the medium of wood, brooding in Speedos and having his bare bottom smacked menacingly through the seat of a rattan chair) is now involved in a high speed car chase. It’s the opening sequence and we want to go big. Think bustling market, colour, glamour, ethnic diversity and any number of ‘product placement’ opportunities.
Where else but the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul? Longstanding location of choice for everything from ‘tragi-comic romantic confusion’ to ‘lingering, bloody shoot-outs on a background of some very nice rugs’. With 5000 shops over 60 streets this is the oldest and largest Bazaar in Europe built by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1451 and almost doubled in size by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century (no holding back on royal titles round these parts).
If you were to visit Istanbul for the Grand Bazaar alone it wouldn’t be a wasted journey. It’s vast and exotic and smells wonderful. There are ancient fountains, tiled domes and walls, hammams, mosques, places to eat, places to sit and what isn’t for sale here probably isn’t worth having. So wander about, linger over tea and sweets and leave high speed chases to the soulless movie types, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar has far more interesting ways to occupy your time.
Is it the past? Is it the present? We’re all searching for something. Perhaps we need a map, or a big book of maps. You get the idea. We want mountains, lots of gorgeous views, charming, unspoiled, some good old fashioned history, you know, the European stuff and if we can have a bit of harbour action that would be great too.
Cue Port de Soller, Majorca. One of the most popular of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Majorca remains surprisingly unspoiled and lovely. It’s also perfect for families and mixed interest groups because there’s such a diverse range of things to do and see within a relatively compact area. The pristine and pretty fishing village of Port de Soller lies to the west of the island sheltered by the Trumuntana Mountains and overlooking one of Mallorca’s famous natural, horseshoe harbours. Lively but not busy, excellent restaurants, crowd free beaches, calm sea for swimming and well placed for some of Mallorca’s best hiking and walking Port de Soller is altogether a very relaxed holiday (and movie) location.
It’s early morning, a handsome, tousled haired young Russian Count paces the floor of a beautiful room. It should be like a theatre set but not like a theatre set, because it’s a film not a play but we want it to look a bit like a play but not, not like a film too.
Enter Ham House, Richmond Upon Thames stage left. Thought to be the most perfectly preserved example of the play between 17th century power, politics and privilege, Ham House is the finest of several magnificent National Trust properties on the banks of the River Thames about 10 miles outside London. Famous for its lavish interior (even the floors are ornate), intricate and immaculate formal gardens and intriguing history, Ham House is a perfect theatrical location for the private apartments of a hero on the cusp of a moral and social dilemma bound to end in tragedy.
Rich, successful, angst-ridden middle-aged American architect revisits his past and ponders his future. Let’s go for elegant and historic, lots of atmosphere and should feel edgy but safe. And can we have some hints that he’s American and an architect, quite a lot of hints would be good.
Has to be the Trastevere District, Rome of course. Narrow, twisting, cobbled streets and alleys shadowed by tastefully painted Medieval houses, creatively placed cafés, bars and restaurants, young and beautiful students, wealthy locals, exquisite shops and plenty of places to stand framed by the past gazing philosophically into the middle distance. On the left bank of the Tiber, Trastevere is subtle, designed, artistic and creative, it’s also where you’ll find some of the most famous sights in Rome like the Villa Farmesina, Piazza Santa Maria and the Orto Botanico – perfect for wandering and pondering.
We’ve got vampires, witches, werewolves, mad drunks, the wife and Alice Cooper. So we need cliffs – lots of them and big ones – plenty of sea and we’ll have a lighthouse and a quaint local village too.
Ticking all those boxes we have Start Point, Kingsbridge. A South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the village of Kingsbridge is postcard pretty with bobbing boats on its estuary, hanging baskets of flowers on every lamp post, craft shops, tea rooms and a sinister air of brooding suspense. Okay, so the last bit isn’t exactly true, but the village is close to Start Point and some of the UK’s most dramatic coastline complete with soaring cliffs, tempestuous seas and quite a famous lighthouse. Walk along the cliff tops and admire the views or take to the beach and brood a little and then head back to Kingsbridge for traditional Devon Cream Tea.
Were our clues good enough? Have you seen the movies? Are you tempted to find out more? Here are the answers ……..
Movie #1 – Skyfall
Movie #2 – Cloud Atlas
Movie #3 – Anna Karenina
Movie #4 – To Rome with Love
Movie #5 – Dark Shadows
Featured image by Eva Rinaldi.