Quarantine Watchlist for Fashionable Europhiles
Fashionable & feel-good movies set in Europe
The world has come to a total halt as the current corona pandemic has put a full stop to all that life has to offer beyond the walls of our homes. Gone are everyone’s summer plans to holiday up in the mountains, at beach resorts or in picturesque European towns. Although we can’t physically be travelling to our favourite destinations, who says we can’t enjoy a little vicarious vacationing. If you, like us, are a bit of a europhile with a fashion sense, this watch-list is for you. Stream or download these movies set in various European landscapes for a scenic and stylish sojourn in Europe.
A Good Year:
Russel Crowe and director Ridley Scott joined hands once again in this entirely non-Gladiator-esque movie, set in the South of France. The plot centres around Max Skinner (Crowe), a workaholic investment banker whose uncle dies and leaves him his chateau and vineyard in Provence. Max travels to France to sell off his property and finds himself falling in love with it instead. A feel-good movie if there ever was one, A Good Year will make you fall deeply in love with the charms of rustic, pastoral European living that feels simplistic but with style, character and charisma that leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. P.s. Marion Cotillard plays Max’s romantic interest and her easy, effortless, season-less French style adds another kind of feel-good flavour to the film.
Letters to Juliet:
A romantic comedy set in Italy, Letters to Juliet portrays Amanda Seyfried as Sophie, a fact checker from New York with dreams of becoming a writer, who travels to Europe with her fiancé on a pre-honeymoon. The couple lands in Verona where Sophie finds an old hidden letter in a charming courtyard where people leave missives of heartbreak to the fictional Juliet, that are then answered by a team of women calling themselves “secretaries of Juliet.” Charmed by the job they’re doing and intrigued by this 50 year old hidden letter, written by a woman named Claire, Sophie joins the secretaries and sends Claire a reply. Claire turns up in Verona with her handsome grandson to meet the person who sent her the letter and together they begin a journey to find Claire’s lost love. Vanessa Redgrave’s performance as Claire is one the finest aspects of this feel-good film. Gracious and graceful, she exudes an elegance that only someone well versed and well-lived in time can match. Her tonal dressing with a barrette placed in neatly parted hair is a lesson in minimal-but-magnificent dressing that highlights the grand in ‘grandma’ dressing.
Before Sunrise is a film that serves the ultimate fallacy of a European escapade (second only to Bollywood’s DDLJ) – meeting the love of your life on the Eurail. There is next to no plot in this movie that follows a French woman and an American man, Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), meeting on a train and falling for each other through conversation alone. From flirty banter to deep talks and meaningful silences, dialogue and the pauses in between is what carries this film forward with Vienna as the visual treat of a backdrop. The actors wore the same costume for the entire length of the film, Celine’s t-shirt worn under a slip dress is a classic ‘90s look for the ages that continues to inspire millennial fashion. The film also has two sequels, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, that are equally worth the watch.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge:
A list of movies set in Europe cannot be complete without this legendary Yash Raj, Bollywood production. A movie that broke all records screening for over a thousand weeks and counting – you can only imagine it’s impact on cinema. The movie is the ultimate meeting-the-man-of-your-
A film that makes you laugh, cry and live without reservation, Queen tells the story of a woman going on her honeymoon solo, after her fiancé breaks up with her a few days before the wedding. One of Indian cinema’s biggest hits in recent years, Queen is helmed by a female actor, which is a rare reality in Bollywood. Rani, the lead role played by Kangana Ranaut, travels to Europe and finds herself in an escapade of a lifetime that gives her the strength and confidence to become a new woman. From youth hostels, bag snatchers and brothels to finding new friendships, the film features Europe as gritty as it is pretty. The fashion in this film may not be trendy or covetable but it definitely played a part in showcasing Rani’s character evolution. The last scene of the film sees her in a sleeveless kameez (the classic clothing choice for those defying desi conventions) with sleek, straightened hair; a look that complements her evolved self from a shy, unsure and insecure girl to a more confident, independent and liberated woman of the world.
An Audrey Hepburn classic set in one of the fashion capitals of the world, Funny Face is the film for the fashionable Europhile. Fashion photographer Dick Avery, played by Fred Astaire, spots Jo (Hepburn) in a bookstore and is immediately taken with her peculiar beauty. Jo’s dreams of going to Paris to study philosophy makes her accept Dick’s offer to take her to the city of lights on a modelling contract for a fashion event. The costumes for the film were designed by the legendary Edith Head, but what truly turned heads in the film was the collection of custom-designed gowns by Hubert de Givenchy; a personal favourite of the famously fashion forward, Audrey Hepburn.
Midnight in Paris:
An enigmatic Woody Allen creation, Midnight in Paris follows the story of Gil, a screenplay writer looking to finish his first novel. On a midnight stroll in Paris, he finds the road leading him to time travel to the 1920s where he has chance meetings with his icons; legendary artists like Fitzgerald Hemingway, Steinbeck and Picasso. The entire film has a vintage fashion vibe, and the costumes from scenes shot in the past reflects a rose tinted view of Paris and the 1920s.