The Arm Chair Traveler

I have fond memories of travels on particular Greek islands.-tangledpasta.net
I have fond memories of travels on particular Greek islands.-tangledpasta.net

By Mary Anna Violi |@Mary Anna Violi

While I am grounded due to the chaos in my back, I find myself watching Netflix more than ever before. What I am watching revolves around movies and television series set in foreign locales. Since my back issues thwarted my travel plans for the month of July, at least I am able to travel vicariously through film.

One program I am now addicted to is from Australia: “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”, based on the Phryne Fisher Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood. The setting is 1920’s Melbourne, Australia. Phryne Fisher, played by Essie Davis, who portrayed Vermeer’s wife in the film “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, is a wealthy, independent, brilliant, seductive, female sleuth. The support cast is outstanding too, as are the mysteries themselves. The period music, clothing, World War I references, and conflicts of those who served in the Australian military are amazing. I highly recommend both the books and the television series.

I watched a 1980’s film I had seen years ago: “Shirley Valentine”, with Pauline Collins portraying Shirley Valentine. It began as a stage play and then was parlayed into a movie. The heroine is a “housewife” in Manchester, England whose life has become a mundane routine of drudgery, and whose marriage has deteriorated into one of whose husband thrives on predictable meals on certain nights of the week. A turning point in the story is when Joe the husband becomes enraged that Shirley serves his Tuesday eggs and chips again on a Thursday, instead of steak and chips. Shirley’s friend has won a two-week trip for two to the island of Mykonos, Greece, and Jane insists that Shirley travel with her. Filmed on location on Mykonos, the scenery is breath taking. Seeing Mykonos this way, reminded me of my various travels to the Greek islands of Crete, Thassos, and Skiathos. Shirley Valentine’s experiences on the island proved to be as cathartic as mine were on the Greek islands.

Another film I liked, though not as much as those mentioned above, was Steve Coogen’s “The Trip to Italy”. I feasted on the panoramic Italian countryside where I had spent much time, while reliving the gustatory delights of local Italian eateries. Coogen’s “The Trip” was filmed in England, but I preferred the second mockumentary in Italy. Both films are humorous, though I found them tedious at certain junctures.

There are worse ways to pass the time at home recovering than enjoying Netflix flix. Today I am looking forward to seeing “Bicycling with Moliere”, which is set in France. I am inclined to pull out my DVD of Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”, a film that zigzags between contemporary Paris and 1920’s Paris. This calls for a glass of French wine.

Ciao for now.

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