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High 5: Film locations

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Top five films that made me want to book a holiday:

It’s an oldie but it’s a goodie, and I’m sure it inspired many a desperate housewife to follow in the lead character’s footsteps…yes, I’m talking about Shirley Valentine. While I can’t forget the sex scene on the boat (the analysis of Shirley’s stretch marks and her unsaid, but not unheard, ‘Aren’t men full of sh*t!’ retort), it’s the unspoilt beaches, deserted coves and sugar cube villages (I can take or leave womanising waiters) that stuck in my mind, and that of many other Brits, at the time. Mykonos went from sleepy and unknown to fashionable and frenetic, faster than one of Shirley’s quick-witted quips.

There was nothing hideous or even kinky about the backdrop of this film. Evocative and entrancing, Morocco’s vibrant Marrakech and starkly beautiful surrounds were unforgettable. This film jolts you into a startlingly different – and enthralling – culture to the one protagonist Julia and her daughters are used to back home in Blighty. In my mind, Hideous Kinky brought us boho chic before the fashion mags did.

Ah, the glamour, the architecture, the sultry nights and the gorgeous people…TheTalented Mr Ripley seemingly packed the very best of this captivating nation into its twisting plot. The film reminded me of the many virtues of Italy – the faded grandeur of Venice and its magnificent Grand Canal; the photogenic cliff top perches of the Amalfi Coast; the eternal appeal of Rome. I can’t think of a single backdrop that didn’t look effortlessly stylish or strikingly scenic.

Ok, the subject matter was pretty depressing, but the sweeping cinematography of the Sahara desert made me want to hop on a plane and find the nearest camel trek deep into its otherworldly heart. Yes, it’s North Africa again. It’s just one of those destinations that seems to seep into my soul and The English Patient, through a series of tense flashbacks, very cleverly captures its unique allure.

This is my wild card entry and involves a cluster of films, rather than just one. I have never been to Vegas, but so many movies have made me want to pack a couple of frocks and a couple of grand (I wish) and go. I love the idea of sleeping all day and gambling all night, if only for a short-lived, debauched weekend. Yes, there is a seedy side to Vegas (I’ve seen Leaving Las Vegas and Indecent Proposal, after all!) but, somehow, the likes of Ocean’s Eleven, Swingers and The Hangover have placed it high on my guilty pleasures traveller’s wish list.

Sarah Belcher

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