Where wanderlust and a love of film shall meet
I have a huge thirst for travel. I only have seven states left in my quest to spend significant time in all 50 US states. I have lived abroad in Spain and have traveled to places far and wide. I travel for work in a way that allows me to really venture out into communities for a deeper cultural understanding. I, of course, still have that silly so-called “bucket list” of places I wish to travel to. This summer, I will be scratching one of those places off my list when I go to present my research at the upcoming International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Admittedly, I am not looking forward to the long series of flights. However, I know the payoff will be grand.
While I have a grand thirst for travel, I also have a deep love of film. I am a huge film noir, screwball comedy and science fiction film fan. When I went to Rome last year and visited the greatly heralded Trevi Fountain, I kept thinking of the film “La Dolce Vita“. I love the meshing of my love of travel with my love of film.
As I am currently walking about the streets of Panama City, Panama I started thinking about films and how they can drive our wanderlust. I do not recall many films being set in Panama. Although, I do remember the “Tailor of Panama” starring Pierce Brosnan when he was coming off his stint as James Bond. The movie gave Panama a bit of an air of mystery. And, of course, who doesn’t want a Panama hat (which by the way is misnamed). This meshing of film and wanderlust draws me to five different cities: Shanghai, Dakar, Casablanca, Nuuk, and Rio de Janeiro.
One place I am dying to travel to largely in part due to a film noir movie is Shanghai, China. One of my favorite old school film noir movies is that of “Lady from Shanghai” by Orson Welles starring the glamorous Rita Hayworth. She tamed and shortened her hair for that role but she was nonetheless the quintessential femme fatale. Her best role is undoubtedly that of Gilda, but if you get a chance to do catch Lady from Shanghai. The film gave an air of grit to Shanghai that has stayed in my consciousness.
There was a film that I caught in my college film history class that was raw and powerful in its depiction of what it is like to be a working class woman. That film was “Black Girl” by Ousmane Sembene. The movie was set in Senegal. My dream is one day to make my way to Dakar and experience the majesty and strength of Senegal.
Both the book and the movie “Smila’s Sense of Snow” drew me into the dark atmosphere of Greenland. The location and its dark, mysterious vibrancy were stronger than the characters themselves. Once my son is a little older, I hope to do a combined trip of Greenland and Iceland. I can only dream of how breathtaking the scenery must be. For sure, I must travel to Nuuk someday.
When I had an emergency laporascopy surgery a few years back, I was in a haze of pain for days. My shoulder’s air pocket had filled with “gas” and suffered extreme agony. There was nothing for me to do other than take pain medications and watch movies. I had never seen the glorious “Casablanca.” In my haze, I watched the film and was enthralled. Not only was I enthralled with the plot, the pacing and the acting, but I also was enthralled with Morocco. My goal is to go there in the coming year or so. I must envelope myself in its air, its sun and its people. My dream is to go to the blue city of Chefchaouen which by all accounts appears to be a deliriously enchanting atmosphere to sink oneself into. If course, I will start my journey off in the stately Casablanca itself.
Having grown up in the South Bronx, I have seen and born witness to how two friends in the same environment can take two completely different paths that tear them apart. The movie “City Of God” speaks to me on that level. That movie also draws me further to the City of Rio de Janeiro. The contrasts of poverty and riches and the contrasts of different paths taken act like a siren call to me where I must make my way to Brazil someday.
As I catch my films in the years to come, hopefully my wanderlust travel list will similarly grow. Off I go to catch the Panama Canal.
Inspired by my love of film and travel; as well as the Daily Prompt
Other takes on the daily prompt by fellow word bloggers: