January 05, 2015

5 Film Remedies for Holiday Burnout

The holiday season is over and credit cards bills will soon follow. Many of us have already seen more than enough snow for one winter. Or maybe you're on tech overload. I'd like to recommend five movies that can slow life down and take you away to a simpler time and place. No car chases or nail-biters in these films; their appeal is enchanting scenery and brilliant cinematography. Pour a cup of tea (or glass of wine), put your feet up and dream of sunny skies in Italy or France.

Most of these movies take place about a century ago. The first two on the list take viewers into the beautiful landscapes of Provence and the French Riviera that inspired two of my favourite artists, Renoir and Van Gogh. The remaining films are set in the Italian Riviera and Tuscany.

1.  Renoir 

The first film tells the story of an aging Pierre-Auguste Renoir the summer his son returns home to convalesce after being wounded in the First World War. Listen to the sound of cicadas as the camera ambles through sunlit olive groves on the French Riviera. The film is in French with English subtitles.

Olive Tree

2.  Vincent and Theo 

This Robert Altman film chronicles the complex relationship between the tortured artist Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo. Venture into fields of vibrant sunflowers and shimmering wheat as Vincent sets up his easel to capture his beloved Provence in paint.

Sunflowers of Provence

3.  Enchanted April

This film follows two English women as they escape their tedious lives for a relaxing vacation in a villa on the Italian Riviera. Peaceful garden scenes and splendid views of the sea will bring your pulse down a notch or two. The film won two Golden Globe Awards.

Italian Riviera

4.  A Room With a View

Starring Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Helena Bonham Carter, this film is based on the acclaimed novel by E.M. Forster and features beautiful scenes of the countryside in Tuscany as well as the family estate in England. The film won three Academy Awards.

The Tuscan Countryside

5.  Tea with Mussolini 

This semi-autobiographical film by Franco Zeffirelli begins in the city of Florence on the eve of World War II. With the war serving as a backdrop to the story, the film has stronger plot elements than the other movies on this list but well-known Florentine landmarks enrich the story. (I loved the Uffizi Gallery scenes.) The hill town of San Gimignano also plays an important role.

Arno River, Florence

If you'd like to learn more about these movies, follow the links below to the listings on Amazon. And you'll find more film suggestions on my Pinterest board Movies for Armchair Travellers.

Related Posts:
My Favourite Films for Armchair Travel
Classic Films for Armchair Travellers

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