By Genevieve Kelly, Film writer & Barefoot Cinema marketing and partnerships manager
So your travel plans are on hold for the foreseeable future (cue desperate howl), but hallelujah for SBS on Demand! The platform hosts a multitude of award-winning world movies that will help you travel the world, all from the couch.
We’ve put together a list of our top four flicks that will help you escape the ordinary and itch that travel bug – all perfectly paired with a Matso's drink or recipe to complete the journey!
TAKE ME TO… SOUTH AMERICA
The Motorcycle Diaries (Directed by Walter Salles, 2004)
South America is the destination and a young Gael García-Bernal is your companion in this epic and energetic road-movie based on the early travel notes of Ernesto “Che” Guevara himself. In 1950's Argentina we meet the short-haired 23-year-old medical student Guevara (García Bernal) and his cheery post-grad biochemist mate Alberto (Rodrigo De la Serna). Disillusioned with their sheltered, upper-class lives and hungry for adventure, the two decide to embark on the transformative motorcycle road trip that revealed the pre-revolutionary Guevara’s life calling.
Armed with vibrant youth and sheer idealism, the young men take an ambitious expedition from Argentina through the Andes, into Chile, then to the Peruvian Amazon and Machu Picchu, planning to arrive in Venezuela in time for Alberto's 30th birthday. And all this in 1952: no backpackers, no tourists, nothing but the open road, surrounded by stunning landscapes captured by incredible cinematography. This is a trip you’ll remember.
Winner of the best original song at the 2014 Oscars, you’ll be cueing up the soundtrack ready for the end credits to roll so you can close your eyes and prolong the sensation of freedom, if only to postpone re-entry into your iso-reality for just a little bit longer.
Watch it with... Matso's Chilli Beer and Cheese dip
TAKE ME TO… SPAIN
Talk To Her (Directed and Written by Pedro Almodóvar, 2002)
Pedro Almodóvar is one of Spain’s most prolific and celebrated film directors. His trademark is his gift for capturing the complexities and contradictions of femininity with dark humour and exuberant passion. Talk To Her is one of the best examples of this which rightfully earned him the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, and Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes in 2003.
Comedy, tragedy and romance combine in this story of two men who meet in the hospital as they tend to the women they love. Both women are in deeply comatose states. As the melodrama unfolds, you will be invited to set aside your preconceptions of storytelling and surrender to the unique trajectory of the lives of these four characters, how they got there and their unexpected destiny. And just like chocolate sauce to churros, the rich Spanish culture oozes through every scene through the music, food, places, customs, expressions and sense of humour. Give in and let this gem of a film transport you there.
TAKE ME TO… BRITAIN
An Education (Directed by Lone Scherfig, 2009)
This dreamy glimpse into England in the 1960's will have you mixing a martini and ordering a pair of suspenders before you can say jolly good. Carey Mulligan was thrust into stardom by her celebrated performance in this (somewhat controversial) film as the 16-year-old Jenny who falls in love with David (Peter Sarsgaard), a dapper man twice her age.
With her entry into Oxford University imminent, the very bright and independent Jenny is lured off-course into a dangerous relationship with the seemingly wealthy charmer. It’s easy to see how, as Jenny’s desparate desire to break free of her middle-class suburban life is expedited by David. His glittering lifestyle and friends transform Jenny from a dowdy schoolgirl into a stylish woman as he spoils her with gifts, clothes, glamorous parties and European travels.
Their romance takes you to another time and place helped by the visual feast of magnificently crafted clothes, haircuts, music and sets. Even as David’s darker side is revealed, you won’t want this splendid filmic cup of tea to end.
TAKE ME TO… GERMANY
The Lives of Others (Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
Winner of the best foreign language film at the 2007 Academy Awards, this gripping German thriller sees politics intertwined with personal relationships. The Lives of Others brilliantly exemplifies the results of human passion and emotion disorienting the cold, grey iron fist that ruled over the time and place of its setting.
It’s 1983, before the fall of the Berlin Wall and dedicated Stasi officer Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe), has doubts that famous playwright Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) is loyal to the Communist Party. He receives approval to spy (a chillingly regular occurrence at these times) on the man and his actress-lover, Christa. But to his detriment, he soon becomes unexpectedly sympathetic to the couple.
It’s well before this point that you are fully hooked by both the powerful performances and the visceral examination of the chilly and sinister secret workings of the East German state and its informants. It was a world without justice that existed alarmingly near to the present time. You’ll freely say prost with a Matso’s at the end of this fascinating eye-opener.