Cinema, as a visual medium, can be a teleportation to any location. Some films specialize in having their destinations act as a character of sorts. Italy is the heart of Bicycle Thieves. Lost in Translation is perfectly clear about Japan’s charm. The dry wasteland of California’s drought plagued riverbeds make their own statement in Chinatown. Fargo barely takes place in Fargo, yet both Minneapolis and Minnesota are prevalent here.
Sometimes, the setting is the essence of a film and not just a character. What you observe as a viewer is essential to the story. Through great cinematography and the right scouting, we are cherished with breathtaking shots that are unforgettable. Here are ten films with great scenery for you to feast your eyes on.
1. A River Runs Through It
Robert Redford teamed up with Philippe Rousselot (who won an Academy Award for his work on this film) for the adaptation of the autobiography A River Runs Through It. Through personal recounts and a love for the Rocky Mountains, the film plants itself within river beds, deep forests and towering mountains.
The mixture of greens and blues, as well as the faint, angelic halo of the sun’s rays, paint a portrait of a peaceful side of nature. Our presence is more welcomed by the vegetation and water than by mankind, here. To be one with the Earth is Zen, and A River Runs Through It finds tranquility where it counts.
2. A Room with a View
One of two James Ivory works here (but the one that he actually directed), A Room with a View was a highly competitive film at the Academy Awards of 1986. While not winning for the work of Tony Pierce-Roberts, the cinematography is stunning and is still noteworthy thirty years later.
The film faces the parallels between England and Italy, especially in regards to how a country side and the scope of a city affect the ways of our wellbeing. You will be torn apart between the stoic buildings and the never-ending plains. A film about the observers of life, A Room with a View provides us all with gorgeous sights.
3. Barry Lyndon
Of course a Stanley Kubrick film would be here. Of course that film is Barry Lyndon. The entire film looks like a moving renaissance painting. John Alcott’s genius photographical work used strictly natural lighting (a breakthrough in cinema), and the results resonate right off of the screen, whether you are indoors by the warm flame of a candelabra or the resting sunset that rests upon a dipping valley.
The film moves along glacially, but that is barely a problem in such a lush landscape that is convincingly of another time. Arguably one of the greatest period piece films, Barry Lyndon is shockingly magnificent to look at.
4. Call Me by Your Name
The most recent film here is another James Ivory piece (this time, as a screenwriter, with Luca Guadagnino behind the camera). Through Ivory’s focus on the countryside, Guadagnino’s attention to detail, and Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s cinematography, Call Me by Your Name is deeply rooted in the heart of northern Italy. Oliver coasts through the city and only stops for errands briefly; he stays long enough for the area to affect us.
We transition through the plains that are golden underneath the blaring sun. We arrive at Elio’s home, that is placed in the middle of a geographical dream. Call Me by Your Name is about falling in love, and one of those loves is with the quieter parts of Italy’s country.
5. Claire’s Knee
Out of the Cahiers du cinéma team that helped to bring French New Wave to the masses, Éric Rohmer’s work is probably some of the most heartfelt (along with Truffaut). In Claire’s Knee, we are given a snapshot of time in a location that means something pivotal to the main characters. Lake Annecy is a welcoming ground that borders its guests with majestic tree-lines and bold mountains.
Néstor Almendros (who will appear on this list twice) helps to capture the life that exudes from the shimmering lake and the breeze flowing through the trees by blending the backdrop through monochromatic greens. Much of Claire’s Knee is about waiting to see what will happen; what better place can we loiter in?