Mink Machine

Visual misconceptions in movies

We often perceive travel destinations from visual impressions gathered from movies, TV and other sources. This can of course give a somewhat different view than the real one. When James Bond arrives to a city, there are always fancy cars and girls in bikini everywhere with no sign of pollution, poverty or rain clouds. As a-ha once sang, “the sun always shine on TV”.

Apart from these easy and obvious manipulations, there’s also the trick of a green screen, allowing “on location”-scenes without the actors even leaving the studio. It used to be an obvious trick, but these days it is extremely hard to discover any traces of it. For example, have a look at the movie in my earlier entry The magic of green screen.

But sometimes the prejudices are handled with humor. One of my favorite deliberate misconceptions is the depiction of Bratislava from Eurotrip. Four friends accidentally arrive in Bratislava instead of Berlin, which is portrayed as a war zone and comically feeds on all possible kinds of prejudices against Eastern Europe.

Sometimes the prejudice come quite close to reality, as in Snatch where Avi arrives at US customs after a trip to London:
“Anything to declare?”
“Yeah. Don’t go to England.”
Later followed up by “Yes, London. You know: fish, chips, cup ‘o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary fucking Poppins…” which caused chuckles from the three Swedes at a cinema in London, and embarrassed silence from the rest of the audience.

But sometimes reality exceeds fiction. Have a look at this tourism shot for Cleveland. It’s probably the worst travel inspiration I’ve ever seen since the Bratislava pun. They shot it in midtown during a dull and gray day and even though it’s meant as a joke, I will never ever go to Cleveland now. :)

Another classic scene is from Rules of Attraction where Victor plunges through entire Europe. It’s like a collection of the best and worst of Europe put on fast forward.

That scene is of course pure fiction, but if you like the concept, check out these videos where it’s made in real world: Denver to Singapore (and back) in 5 minutes by David DAngelo and Melbourne To London with a Wideangle Lens by Tom Blachford, or why not the solemn Voyage by Marco Aslan.

My advice is to use your own senses on location. Improvise, have fun and don’t be discouraged if it’s raining!

Comments

No comments yet.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured stories

Vineyards of southern France

"Not far from Sauternes is the village of Saint-Émilion, also a famous wine region but what got me hooked was their impressive limestone caves."

Historic locations in Gothenburg

"Hundreds of houses were quickly build, but unfortunately all of it was burned to the ground in 1611 by Danish forces."

Good morning Montenegro

"One would almost think that all this secrecy was made on purpose to keep the hordes of tourists away. Let them all perish in the crowds of Dubrovnik while the people of Montenegro can enjoy their beautiful country on their own. Or something like that."

Eating my way through Basque country

"Not too bad to wash it all down with a local Txakoli, the young white wine typical of the Basque country."

Sessions in Seville

"I end my journey in front of the tomb of Columbus, located inside the world’s largest Gothic cathedral."

The urban maze of Tangier

"There are exciting things waiting around every corner and my bucket list is long, but the Medina has a mindset of its own regarding time and space."