I’m sitting here typing at Guapa Pecera – a local café – sipping a strong, clove-scented coffee on Majorca, one of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. I’m tucked away in a forest alcove above an abrupt cliff face, peering down at the bronzed flecks of swimmers and sailboats in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. It’s a brilliant, clear day. A plate of fideua (a local, noodle based paella) has just arrived…
Okay, I’m dreaming again, except this time, rather than talk about my travel plans next year to this wonderful part of the world, I’m going to discuss some films I’ve watched recently. Films about the Mediterranean that are beautifully shot and may well inspire you (as they have me). I must apologise in advance as there’s only two foreign films in this list (please suggest some more) and Pierce Brosnan is in two of them. Without further ado:
1. Before Midnight
It’s been nearly 20 years since Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) first met in Paris and spent the night together in a park. This is the third film in their saga by Richard Stuart Linklater, and it’s arguably the best. Following on from the second film, there’s long, impromptu dialogue from the actors that seems very real. There’s no candy coated conversations and life’s problems are discussed candidly and cleverly. Better yet, it all takes place in Kardamyli – a gorgeous, seaside town in the region of Messenia, Greece.
2. Love Is All You Need
Yes, old Pierce is in this one. Now I thought he made a terrible James Bond, although I don’t mind him as an actor and he’s good in this Danish flick directed by Susanne Beir. Basically, it’s an unconventional love story with a few scandalous side plots thrown in amongst stunning Italy. The female lead, played by Trine Dyrholm, steals the show. It’s a Danish, Italian and English language film and the vistas at Sorrento, Naples and Campania make for a superb travel advertisement. Wow.
3. Four Last Songs
Set on Majorca in the Balearic Islands, this film starring Stanley Tucci and Rhys Ivans is worth a look. It’s a story about the life and loves of a motley band of expats, all centred around the music of a once famous composer (who was a former resident on the island). The plot jumps around a bit, but it all comes together nicely at the end and the performances are good. Better yet, the location is stunning.
4. Mamma Mia!
Yes, it’s a musical and it has Pierce Brosnan in it. Anyway, I liked it. It’s upbeat, fun and the alluring location will get you dreaming about the Mediterranean if you’re not already. There’s lots of Abba music, wedding plans and a secret involving three men, only one of whom is the father of the bride to be. The film, which has a star studded cast, was shot amongst the olive rich hills and azure waters of Skopelos – a Greek Island in the western Aegean Sea.
5. Cinema Paradiso
This sweet Italian film is about the journey of a boy to manhood and how he fell in love with movies and the theatre along the way. Of course there’s a love story thrown in (very Mediterranean), and although many scenes are shot in and around the cinema, there’s enough footage of Bagheria, a town in Sicily, that will get you hankering for a visit. A beautiful film.
Can you suggest any good foreign (local) films set in the Mediterranean?