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Travel vicariously through these films featuring dreamy landscapes, stunning nature shots, and equally gripping stories.

Life in quarantine is typically defined by the expansive scenery of the city, the town, or our garden as we observe the outside world from the comforts of our home. As we are encouraged to stay indoors, we couldn’t help but wax nostalgic as we reminisce about the days when we could easily take road trips or fly out to our favorite destinations. While we are still waiting for the pandemic to recede, the least we can do to divert our travel blues is to vicariously experience destinations by watching these films. Seeing the glory of nature and other landscapes on-screen is our only way to comfort ourselves, hoping we can travel soon. For now, scroll below to see our list and add these to your night or weekend watchlist.

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(Photo from The Film Agency)

Portrait of a Lady On Fire (2019)

With breathtaking performances, arresting images and picturesque scenes, and a mesmerizing romance, it is no argument that this film is pure artistic cinema. It follows the forbidden affair between Héloïse, a young aristocrat set to marry a nobleman, and Marianne who is commissioned to paint Héloïse. The passionate tension between these women makes for a captivating study of politics, reality, and its representation, a masterpiece of this age.

(Photo from JustWatch)

A River Runs Through It (1992)

Capturing the charm of the Montana countryside, this Academy Award-winning film is based on the semi-autobiography of Norman MacLean. It follows the story of a Presbyterian minister’s sons who are complete opposites–one is studious and the other free-spirited and rebellious. As you watch the brothers grow up in the Rocky Mountain region, you’ll fall in love with their peaceful life, traversing impressive mountains, rivers, and going on fishing trips.

(Photo from The Virginian Plot)

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Who could forget this lovely, romantic story of two 12-year-olds running away to build their paradise? Set on an island in New England, the movie is nothing short of Wes Anderson’s signature bright color palette. The use of a muted yellow saturation in the Moonrise Kingdom gives a retro sentimental vibe and recalls the playfulness of childhood, creating a true feel-good film.

(Photo from Why So Blu)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

For your dose of a good-natured adventure, this film follows a boy and his foster father as they get stranded in New Zealand and become targets of a manhunt. Directed by Taika Waititi, this movie is filled with charming one-liners, excellent chemistry between the protagonists, and a fantastic mix of drama, action, humor. Let’s not forget the allure of scenic New Zealand and you’ve got yourself a new favorite.

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(Photo from IMDB)

Emma (2020)

The latest movie adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel is not one to disappoint. From its portrayal of a wonderful ensemble of characters to the ravishing cinematography, Emma is a real sumptuous visual feast. There is an emphasis on depicting the emotions of Emma rather than the setting, making for intimate yet striking color combinations in the scenes. For those unfamiliar, the story is about a willful young woman who occupies herself in a matchmaking business among her family and friends.

(Photo from Cinematic Artistry)

Captain Fantastic (2016)

Ever imagined life in complete isolation from society? This comedy-drama film explores the life of a family who, for a decade, lived in the wilderness of Washington. The parents were former activists who refused to concede to capitalism and instead chose to teach their children survival skills, philosophy, and politics. However, drama within the family members ensues and they are eventually forced to reintegrate into society.

(Photo from Evan Richards)

Barry Lyndon (1975)

This list wouldn’t be complete without including a Stanley Kubrick film. Barry Lyndon recounts an Irish rogue’s scheme of climbing the social ladder of British society by pretending to be a rich widow’s dead husband. While the story is intriguing, the cinematography is groundbreaking. The incredible landscapes are depicted in rich colors, natural light, and frozen figures, all resembling 18th-century paintings.

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(Photo from Vulture)

Brooklyn (2015)

Film connoisseurs of the drama genre wouldn’t be able to resist watching emotional journeys especially those of leaving home like the story of Brooklyn. A young Irish girl played by the graceful Saoirse Ronan emigrates to the city for work. She falls for an Italian plumber, but eventually finds herself torn between him and a bachelor back in her home in Ireland. The slow pacing of the film is like a poignant unfolding of a novel, taking you to the lovely streets of Brooklyn and Ireland in the 1950s.

(Photo from Pebble Shoo)

Into the Wild (2007)

As the title suggests, the film is a biographical adventure of Christopher McCandless as he hiked the dangerous yet fascinating Alaskan wilderness. The film is ambitious in setting as it portrayed Christopher’s hike across North America, going through dust storms, freight trains, running rivers, and mountains in the winter season. Amid this journey are life’s struggles, sorrow, epiphanies, and self-realization.

(Photo from Film4 Productions)

Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

A memoir of Ernesto Guevara or widely known as Che Guevara, this biopic follows his self-realization as he travels across South America with his biochemist friend. Witnessing social injustices in the trip allowed him to discern what he wants to embody and do in his life. The journey is not as easy as the two encountered misfortune one after the other. Yet beyond these, you can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the continent. Cinematographer Eric Gautier captures these and more as if we are seeing through the eyes of a world-class travel photographer.

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