Travel and Tourism in Film

This week, I spent the majority of my time packing my bags and preparing for a month’s visit to…. Texas! Yes, I’m back and it feels great. While caught in this whirlwind of preparation, I tried to think of a topic for this week’s Double Take and I landed on the most obvious answer: travel.

I never realized how much I love films about traveling or tourism. There are a variety of different ways to acknowledge various forms of travel in film. Easy Rider (1969) had everyone’s motor runnin’ and confronts the freedom of self-discovery in the boundary-less confines of 1960s America. More recently, Midnight in Paris (2011) is concerned with self growth and travel… in this case, time travel and tourism are at the heart of Owen Wilson’s character’s self discovery. Travel on film, obviously, also feeds our inherent desire to see the unseen and experience lands far, far away which we may never encounter first-hand.

There is, perhaps, a deeper and underlying message to films about travel. What does the mode of travel do the the overall arc of the film? Airplane! is hilarious, but could the hilarity be partially owed to the general claustrophobia felt by most viewers from their own previous experience? The film is not about destination to destination, but rather the vehicle in itself and the type of human interaction one might find (but hopefully NOT) on an airplane.

Tomorrow, I would like to analyze a different type of travel and the concept of character transition via trains. Before I sink my teeth into such a fascinating subject (at least I find it fascinating, so you should, too), I’d like to know if you have any favourites as far as travel films? Strangers on a Train? Silver Streak? National Lampoon’s Family Vacation? Or heck, even Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? (That one is permanently seared to my brain and I have no idea why I like it. Don’t hate me.)

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