#FindYourEscape with these films that inspire travel

2018-03-07 14:28 - Kavitha Pillay
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A scene from Coco. (Photo: Twitter/ Seventeen)

Cape Town – Have you ever fallen in love with a destination after watching it in a film?

It’s not uncommon to be swept away by exotic destinations, architecture and breathtaking sites that are used as the backdrop of locations of various films.

Many film studios – and particularly Disney – are now using narratives in film to not only show locations around the world, but also to share the many cultures and social diversity that can be found at those places.

SEE: #FilmTourism: SA's billion-rand film industry shines spotlight on Mzansi's Sun City

One example that highlights this is the recent Oscar-winning Disney-Pixar film, Coco, which won the Academy Award for Best Animation Feature.

Set in Mexico, the plot is based on the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) - an important 3-day Mexican festival in which families and friends gather to pay tribute to and remember their ancestors in support of their spiritual journey.

The film highlights the festival - as well as many family values and important messages typical of Disney films – in a way that creates wanderlust and grabs the interest of the viewer to learn more about the festival and Mexican culture.

ALSO SEE: PICS: Follow the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera art trail in Mexico City

While Day of the Dead is now celebrated globally, cultures and places around the world that have not followed the festival for centuries will not execute it in its true Mexican style. Therefore, experiencing Day of the Dead in Mexico will provide an authentic experience in a place where the majority of the people live by Mexican culture and traditions on a daily basis.

The same can be applied to all cultures and traditional festivals around the world, as authentic cultural experiences are best enjoyed in places of origin, or where a majority of people who practice these cultures and traditions reside.

Another Disney movie that delved deep into cultural experiences while creating wanderlust was Moana, which inspired travel to the central Pacific islands.

Flight Centre’s Nicky Potgieter says that “films reveal what we can often not experience first-hand. Travel is a high-ticket item that you don’t get to experience before you go, so living vicariously through our favourite movie characters in the places that feature in TV series and movies gives us a taste of what we’ll encounter if we head beyond our borders.”

ALSO SEE: #BlackPanther: You can visit Wakanda IRL at Golden Gate National Park

Here are some of the recent Oscar winners and nominees that will inspire your next holiday.


The war film Dunkirk – which won an Oscar for Film Editing - depicts the Battle of Dunkirk and the evacuation of British, French and allied troops during WWII in 1940. Those who get travel inspiration from this film can visit the battlefields of WWI and WWII with Trafalgar’s special-interest guided holiday.


Victoria & Abdul – which was nominated for best costume design explores history, culture and travel, and inspires a journey to India. The plot follows the friendship between Muslim clerk Abdul Karim and Queen Victoria, when he travels from India to England.


Wanderlust stirred by The Darkest Hour, which also set during WWII, can be satisfied by visiting some of the popular attractions in central London such as Churchill War Rooms and Churchill's underground bunker set beneath the streets of Westminster.


Loving Vincent is set within the village in Amsterdam where artist Vincent van Gogh lived his final weeks. View this famous Dutch Post-Impressionist painter’s work at the Van Gogh Museum.

South Africa

While not nominated for any Oscars, Marvel’s Black Panther has taken the entertainment and social media worlds by storm.

You don’t have to travel very far to experience a slice of Wakanda as the iconic superhero film featured aerials of Wakanda that was shot at Golden Gate Highlands National Park in SA’s Free State!