World Heritage Sites in Modern Day Cinema
Hello, fellow world travelers & World Heritage Site enthusiasts !
This week I’m doing a spotlight (pun intended) on five movies that feature World Heritage Sites. They are: (1) The Darjeeling Limited, (2) Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, (3) Hero, (4) Marie Antoinette, (5) The Spy Who Loved Me.
1. The Darjeeling Limited (2007), directed by Wes Anderson
- World Heritage Site featured: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, India
- Synopsis: After their father dies, three American brothers embark on India’s Darjeeling Limited Railway to locate and reconnect with their estranged missionary mother.
- WHS Significance to the movie: Several scenes from The Darjeeling Limited take place on trains traveling The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, and Wes Anderson’s unique and quirky filming style personify the railroad—allowing it to become one of the movie’s characters.
- IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0838221/
- Movie stills featuring The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway:
2. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), directed by Simon West
- World Heritage Site featured: Angkor, Cambodia
- Synopsis: Based on the video game of the same name, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider stars Angelina Jolie as she battles evil mystical forces to rescue precious archeological artifacts.
- WHS Significance to the movie: Several scenes from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider were filmed in the Angkor’s temples. The film is responsible for introducing to many Westerners the fascinating beautify of Angkor Wat.
- IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0146316/
- Movie stills featuring Angkor:
3. Hero (originally “Ying Xiong”) (2002), directed by Zhang Yimou
- World Heritage Site featured: Arrow Bamboo Lake, Jiuzhaigou, China
- Synopsis: Set during China’s Qin dynasty (221 – 206 BCE), Hero stars Jet Li as an anonymous defense warrior hired to defend the King of Qin against three assassins.
- WHS Significance to the movie: Though only one scene of Hero features Arrow Bamboo Lake, it exquisitely and vibrantly portrays the lake and surrounding mountain landscape.
- IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299977/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
- Movie clip featuring Arrow Bamboo Lake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGq6FXcpxtY
4. Marie Antoinette (2006), directed by Sofia Coppola
- World Heritage Site featured: Palace and Park of Versailles, France
- Synopsis: Coppola’s imaginative retelling of the life and death of Marie Antoinette, France’s notorious child-queen beheaded at the start of the French Revolution.
- WHS Significance to the movie: Both the Park and Palace of Versailles are prominently featured throughout Marie Antoinette. Sofia Coppola was granted “unprecedented access” to both World Heritage Sites, and she used this access to accurately portray what life would have been like inside Versailles during Marie Antoinette’s reign (The New York Times).
- IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0422720/
- Movie stills featuring Versailles Palace and Park:
5. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), directed by Lewis Gilbert
- World Heritage Site featured: Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt
- Synopsis: James Bond attempts to take down reclusive villain Karl Stromberg and his plot to destroy the world and start a new undersea civilization.
- WHS Significance to the movie: Though the Abu Simbel Temples were not prominently featured in The Spy Who Loved Me, the temples’ inclusion in the film help immortalize them as important World Heritage Sites.
- IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076752/?ref_=nv_sr_1
- Movie still featuring Abu Simbel Temples:
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