Any student who wishes to do an Erasmus is faced with with a tough choice: which city should I choose? There are so many awesome choices out there, that you may be at a loss at first. Luckily, there’s this really cool way of deciding where should you go called “film”. Who doesn’t like a good 2-hour (or more) film that takes you to lots of places, while involving you in a nice plot? And there are a lot of movies out there that could make your choice simpler!
So, if you’re planning on going to one of these popular cities to do an Erasmus and want to see what they’re made of before making a decision, sit back, relax, grab a bucket of popcorn and enjoy these films!
An Erasmus in Spain?
Barcelona – L’Auberge Espagnole (Also called Pot Luck or The Spanish Apartment, 2002)
Directed by Cédric Klapisch. Starring Audrey Toutou, Judith Godrèche and Romain Duris.
If you ever wondered what life is like for an Erasmus student, you’ll get a good idea by following parisian Xavier to Barcelona for his year abroad where he shares a flat with six other students in a melting pot of nationalities. But that is part of what the experience is all about. This is a fun film, featuring many of the hotspots in Barcelona, but it’s a smart film, too, showing how for these students life will never be the same.
Madrid – El Dia de la Bestia (The Day of the Beast, 1995)
Directed by Álex de la Iglesia. Starring Álex Angulo, Armando de Razza and Santiago Segura
Don’t be fooled by the name of this one. It’s actually a brilliant comedic horror film, which follows a fallen priest and a good-hearted but violent heavy metal fan as they wreak gory havoc all over Madrid in an attempt to save the world from the Antichrist, which is prophesied to be born on Christmas day in the city. Obviously, the flick in entirely set in Madrid and most of the scenes take place in the centre of the city.
An Erasmus in Germany?
Berlin – Goodbye, Lenin! (2003)
Directed by Wolfgang Becker. Starring Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß and Chulpan Khamatova
A much-liked film that cleverly tackles the issues surrounding German unification – by ignoring them. A fervent East German socialist misses the Wende (reunification) as she’s in a coma; on her recovery, and to spare her further shock, her son goes to elaborate lengths to maintain the fiction that East Germany is still in existence. A huge part of thefilm was shot in the former East Berlin, including shots of lead Daniel Brühl speeding past celebrating football fans on the monumental Karl-Marx-Allee. A good movie and a cool way to get to know the city!
Munich – Cabaret (1972)
Directed by Bob Fosse. Starring Liza Minelli, Michael York and Joel Grey
This film might’ve been released quite a few years ago, but it sure hasn’t lost its spunk! Revolving around a female girlie club entertainer in the Weimar Republic era, who romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them, this fun classic musical sure is a sight, having been film in several areas of Munich (and Berlin as well) displaying what a cool city it is! Oh, and it also won three Academy Awards.
An Erasmus in Italy?
Rome – To Rome, With Love (2012)
Directed by Woody Allen. Starring Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin and Roberto Benigni
The story is told in four separate storylines: a clerk who wakes up to find himself a celebrity, an architect who takes a trip back to the street he lived on as a student, a young couple on their honeymoon, and an Italian funeral director whose uncanny singing ability enraptures his soon to be in-law, an American opera director. All this in fantastic and beautiful Rome. There are a lot of films set in Rome, but you’ll be pazzo if this one doesn’t make you pack your bags and go there!
Venice – The Tourist (2010)
Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Starring Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany.
During a trip to Europe, math teacher Frank Tupelo finds himself in an extraordinary situation when an alluring stranger, Elise, places herself in his path. Their seemingly innocent flirtation turns into a dangerous game of cat and mouse while various people, who all think that Frank is Elise’s thieving paramour, Alexander Pearce, try to capture the pair. While there characters are playing their game, you can feast your eyes on the beautiful streets, landmarks and canals that make Venice a very cool city to explore on Erasmus!
An Erasmus in the UK?
London – Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
Directed by Mike Leigh. Starring Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan and Alexis Zegerman
This film about a perpetually cheerful London schoolteacher whose positive outlook on life aggravates those around her is not just an award-winning feel-good movie. it is also perfect for drinking games and provides an awesome tour of London, which includes Finsbury Park, Camden Lock, Regent’s Park, Camden Market, Stroud Green, Tufnell Park and Lambeth, amongst other cool places.
Manchester – 24 Hour Party People (2002)
Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Starring Steve Coogan, Andy Serkis and Paddy Considine
The film is loosely based on the life and times of ‘Mr. Manchester’, Tony Wilson, founder of the record company Factory Records. It begins with the punk rock era of the 1970s and moves through the 1980s into the “Madchester” scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Of course, Manchester serves as backdrop and this is the story of a unique time in Manchester’s development from rundown Northern industrial centre to the thriving city it is today. When you go there, make a toast honouring Tony!
An Erasmus in the France?
Paris – Midnight in Paris (2011)
Directed by Woody Allen. Starring Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard and Rachel McAdams
Okay, another Woody Allen movie. But this guy can really make a postcard-film! Set in Paris, the film follows Gil Pender, a screenwriter, who is forced to confront the shortcomings of his relationship with his materialistic fiancée and their divergent goals, which become increasingly exaggerated as he travels back in time each night at midnight. Exploring themes such as nostalgia and modernism, this is a romantic, fantasy film that encompasses all that is beautiful about Paris with literature, art, history and true Parisian love.
Marseille – Taxi (1998)
Directed by Gerard Pirès. Starring Samy Naceri, Frédéric Diefenthal and Marion Cotillard
A very popular action-comedy film, it’s the story of a hip taxi driver that, in order to to work off his tarnished driving record, must chauffeur a loser police inspector on the trail of German bank robbers. Fun and exciting, this film has the popular city of Marseilles serving as a scenery. Fast and Furious what?
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