Our favorite sci-fi and fantasy movies have a strange way of visiting disaster upon wondrous places – yet still stirring our desire to visit those places. You wouldn’t want to live in Gotham… right? But the chance to visit it on a quiet day? Pretty cool!
What if directors made film posters inspired by travel?
Cinema is an escape from the mundanity of the everyday. But it can also be a portal into real-world locations that the humble traveler might otherwise find intimidating. Our most eloquent directors are like the best tour guides: they show you not an anonymous city, but their own poetic response to the exotic world that inspired them. What if directors made film posters? We have a feeling they would look a little like this!
It’s an idea that really got under the skin of the designers at Big Domain – so they decided to create a series of travel posters from the perspective of the movie-makers who know the destinations best. Got your magical suitcase packed?
WES ANDERSON (JAIPUR, INDIA)
The hipster’s favorite film director, Wes Anderson took us to Japan in Isle of Dogs, New York City in The Royal Tenenbaums, and under the sea for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. This guy likes to get around! But Anderson’s travel-buggiest movie has to have been 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited. Three brothers, played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman, are forced to share a train journey through the Indian region of Rajasthan – and the lush countryside and awe-inspiring temples they pass gradually adjust their view of the world. For the Wes Anderson-style poster of Jaipur (Rajasthan’s capital) the designers have perfectly captured the filmmaker’s arch symmetrical aesthetic, and the way in which his live action movies always look slightly like cartoons and his animations look like a lovely version of real life.
TIM BURTON (CORNWALL, UK)
Tim Burton may be American but there’s something undeniably British about his gothic aesthetic (and he seemed perfectly matched to the spoopy British actress Helena Bonham Carter with whom he was together for 13 years). The underlying weirdness of Great Britain was hinted at in his adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, but he got the chance to truly explore the urban gothic of that creepy island with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in 2016. The story takes place largely in Wales, but the Cornish hamlet of Portholland stood in for it in the movie. It was a lonely and mysterious place before Burton and his production designers even turned up, but with the added folklore of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiars and Wights it really makes for a haunting travel poster!
SOFIA COPPOLA (TOKYO, JAPAN)
Known for her quirky, bittersweet explorations of adult foibles, Coppola’s expertise lies in her ability to express the weirdness of being a grown-up through the colorful design of her sets and costumes. There’s always a sense of twisted luxury in her movies (she’s Hollywood royalty, after all). In her breakthrough cult classic Lost In Translation that glamour is soured by the loneliness of Bill Murray’s superstar existence, as he visits Tokyo to make a whisky commercial out of sight of his American fans and finds himself staring into an existential abyss. But Tokyo remains an alluring destination for regular folk, and if you can force yourself to leave your hotel suite you’ll discover blossom, temples, and bustling shopping streets whose colors inspired Lost In Translation’s sumptuous palette.
PETER JACKSON (WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND)
Peter Jackson is a big filmmaker from a tiny country. But even as he relocated to Hollywood, he’s never forgotten his roots. His home nation of New Zealand has proved the perfect location for Jackson’s Lord of the Rings cycle. And if Tim Burton found the gothic in the UK, Jackson has found the magic in the antipodes. There’s something about the odd behavior of islanders that resonates with movie audiences, even when that island is standing in for the shires of Middle-earth.
CHAN-WOOK PARK (SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA)
The capital of South Korea is a lovely place, but the country’s most famous director can’t help but find the villainy afoot in that modern Asian cityscape! While he’s not yet a household name, Chan-Wook Park is famous among cult cinema lovers for his grimly humorous revenge flicks and absurdist vampire and cyborg movies. So it’s no surprise that the poster he would design to advertise his home city comes complete with a veiled threat… a threat that doubles as a knowing reference to his greatest ever plot twist. Intrigued?
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN (CHICAGO, USA)
Sometimes it seems like Batman director Christopher Nolan sees in black and white. Even his ‘color’ movies seem to be composed from millions of shades of gray. Along with his penchant for blowing everything up, he’s perhaps not the ideal choice to front a tourism campaign for your home city. But the guy has style. He likes to lighten those moody tones with more than an occasional explosion of fire. And he also had the canny idea to relocate Gotham from its traditional association with NYC to the windy city of Chicago. And so his poster, like his movies, explores the potential of a future that will be forever haunted by the missteps of our past. Ticket for two?
STEVEN SPIELBERG (PETRA, JORDAN)
Everybody wants to be Indiana Jones. He wears the sweltering heat of Jordan like he just walked off a catwalk. And that’s director Steven Spielberg’s specialty – making extreme peril look all kinds of fun. Petra made an appearance in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and the city hit the headlines again when real-life archaeologists (using satellites and drones rather than a shovel) discovered a buried ceremonial platform twice the size of an Olympic swimming pool. If you have a budding Indiana in your family, there’s plenty still to discover here.
So you’ve seen this year’s holiday options, and you couldn’t ask for a more spectacular perspective on these wonderful places. Which one are you going to book?
John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.