Wednesday, 11 April 2007

How do you feel when a movie is filmed in a different country to that it is portraying?

Another theme coming out of earlier bloggers comments is the issue of authenticity & displacement. What issues do you feel arise when a movie is not filmed in the place its portraying on screen? How would this influence your travel decisions if you knew this to be the case? How would you feel if you went to a place and then found out the movie had been shot in a different country?

47 comments:

Katieshaw said...

I feel rather cheated when this happens, as with Braveheart being largely filmed in Ireland, with the wrong topography.

samanthaj said...

This one got my thinking cap on! I don't feel this has happened to me yet. I think if the movie motivated me to go on vacation I would be more inclined to visit the place its meant to be in the film, as for me there's often an emotional aspect to the story involved. Don't know that I'd feel that by simply visiting the film location if that wasn't where the story was. I guess though I would feel a bit cheated even though I'd still visit where the film is set it perhaps wouldn't mean as much knowing it's not what I actually saw in the movie.

Fuyuko said...

It doesn't matter terribly to me, since I don't do a lot of travelling. I would, however, make comments about it if it was supposed to be shot in a location I'm familiar with, but wasn't.

yoshikuni said...

I am aware this does happen. The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise was a popular film set in my country but most of it was not filmed here. I think this can affect tourists in different ways. I know some tourists have come here to Japan because of that film. Perhaps they did not know it was not filmed here or maybe they came here because of the story and Japanese culture.

This is similar for me with my UK visit this year. One of the places I will visit is Scotland. Braveheart and William Wallace are part of this. Even though I had heard and also read here from some bloggers that the film was not made in Scotland it is still Scotland I wish to visit as for me that is where the story is based, where the real characters lived and fought, where the culture is that I wish to experience.

This can also work in reverse I feel. My family wish to visit Northern Ireland after reading about connections with Narnia. I have seen the recent film and know that it was made in New Zealand. We wish to go where the original connection with the stories is and not where the film was made even though the film has peaked our interest in this.

Lee said...

It wouldn't make a great deal of difference to me but I'd be alittle disgruntled if I'd been sold a holiday on the basis of the film location.

esmie said...

As I stated in my first post - for me I like to visit places I actually see - if it is masquerading as somewhere else that does not interest me so much. Maybe the place depicted can have an emotional connection for some people but for me I like to visit what I see.

carlyrich said...

Reading through this blog again (which I've now added to favorites) and I felt I had to comment on a good example of this.

Our recent trip to London included a James Bond taxi tour which peaked our interest in things Bond. We watched Casino Royale on dvd recently (since returning home) and have now added Montenegro to our list of places to visit in Europe as it looked so stunning in the movie. I then read on IMDB that it wasn't filmed in Montenegro at all! I think it was Italy and the Czech Republic. We are now really torn about where to visit. My feeling is I will still go to Montenegro rather than Italy for example but it would have meant more if it had actually been filmed there! At least I know. I would have felt more cheated if I had gone there and then found out.

starmind said...

Wow its great to know people's opinion on this. I never knew this was such an issue! Im ok with movies being filmed somewhere thats not the real location protrayed. However, I think the place has to be well chosen and most of all, it has to be well advertised to the audience where the shooting took place. In the end, its like when a movies have computer generated images: it usually is known by the public; they are aware of it, so they can like it or dislike it. Most movies have the info about the locations in the very end of the credits and most ppl dont stick around to find that out. So then they (like me) can get the wrong idea in their heads regarding certain places and countries.

kerry said...

Well this is a really interesting aspect!

As I said elsewhere on this blog 3 movies influenced me to visit Japan: The Last Samurai, Memoirs of a Geisha and Lost in Translation.

Although I didn't realise at the time, only one of these films was actually made in Japan (Lost in Translation). I learned whilst visiting the country that The Last Samurai and been shot mainly in New Zealand and that Geisha was mostly American I think. However to me (although some people may find this disappointing) these films still made me want to experience Japan.

For me its the setting - and all the characters and story, the culture and issues surrounding it that grab me. Thats what I want to experience. So for me when this happens with a film I will always visit the country that is portrayed and not where it is filmed.

brian caine said...

I'm a big fan of going to places connected to movies.

I do feel disturbed though at reading here about this trend of places portraying somewhere they are not.

As a movie fan I was aware this happened but never really thought too much about it in relation to tourism.

What disturbs me is the fact I have actually booked a holiday in Montenegro inspired by Casino Royale. I booked this through www.thomson.co.uk who actually state on their website - 'Even spy extraordinaire 007 couldn't keep away – these gorgeous landscapes starred on the big screen in the James Bond blockbuster 'Casino Royale'.

I read here from Carly that very little if any of it was filmed in Montenegro at all and after some further online searching of my own this seems to be very much the case.

So to answer the quesion here of how I feel? cheated! is the honest answer. Is this false advertising by Thomson?

I booked my trip believing what I saw on screen was where I was booking my holiday to only to find out that it isn't.

Has anyone else encountered this?

evan debs said...

This has happened to me also Brian. Though I didn't find out until I actually visited. My boyfriend and I went to Ireland in the summer of 2004. We'd seen Ireland in lots of films and on television and always wanted to visit.

A film we watched on dvd called Waking Ned finally prompted us to get up and go at last. You can imagine our surprise when my boyfriend started asking where the film was made and some people told us that the Waking Ned film wasn't made in Ireland at all! We had a great holiday in Ireland but the funny and feel good movie that prompted us to go was actually made in the Isle of Man.

I guess Brian's case is different though as he has seen an advert based on something which isn't true. Maybe this is false advertising Brian, I don't know. We didnt see Ireland advertising itself because of Waking Ned - the film just made us want to go. I suppose we did feel a bit cheated but I think we'd probably have gone to Ireland anyway rather than the Isle of Man, even if we'd known. It's a fascinating area though - I'm sure this must happen a lot.

steve w said...

It would vary depending on the film but on balance (as someone who is influenced by film & television) I would go where the story is set - the place portrayed in the movie.

If the story is set in Hawaii thats where I'd go even if the movie wasn't filmed there. I don't really have a desire to see where the film is made - I want to experience what I associate with the film. I think the word experience is the key to recapture something of what you felt when watching the movie.

chris moore said...

How can you go somewhere portrayed in a movie if it doesn't exist? I disagree with some other bloggers here who say they always want to go where the story takes place. In extreme cases like Star Wars, LOTR etc the setting is fictional and doesn't exist, yet many people go to the locations used for the film. I've been to Tunisia and visited Matmata. Some day I will visit New Zealand because of LOTR. These movies are not filmed where they are portraying (they can't be) and yet people still visit where they are made. Surely this can happen for movies that arn't completely fictional too?

carlyrich said...

I was sorry to read here about Brian's experience with his tour operator and Montenegro.

We are still going to visit despite finding out that it wasn't really Montenegro in the film. As I stated in an earlier post it's often the characters I associate with a place that influences me. I now associate Montenegro with James Bond (regardless of whether or not it was filmed there). This was also sparked by a recent visit to London and a Bond taxi tour that we really enjoyed. I will however always check sources such as IMDB if a movie inspires me, to see where it actually was filmed but on balance I feel I will always choose where the movie is set.

I accept Chris's recent point that if it's a fictional setting then of course you can't actually go there and have to visit where it was made instead - but that's different - you don't have another choice - it's that or nothing. I still feel most people like me might prefer to visit the place portrayed.

Chatty Mary said...

Well, I would not take umbrage over creative license as long as the movie wasn't shot elsewhere for the sole purpose of trying to circumvent paying union scale. Of course there are limits to how much creative license should be taken. I would hope that the movie location would be somewhat similar to the country it was attempting to portray.

marcushog said...

Really interesting question! Don't think its happened to me yet but I can see how it raises some issues for people. I agree with Chris somewhat in that if its a science fiction or fantasy film then the 'place' depicted doesn't really exist - so it doesn't raise the same questions over how authentic the place is. If the setting in the movie is real and yet its filmed somewhere else - then that's very different. I read on the blog here about Braveheart and Ireland. I never knew that. I would have visited Scotland without thinking, never realising it wasn't Scotland I saw on film.

MarkC said...

I haven't encountered this widely not having travelled outside north america. However it does happen a lot between the States and Canada. Parts of Canada, especially Toronto often doubles for US cities and places. I guess this could create confusion as to where to visit or disappointment if you didn't know that somewhere on screen was not where it was pretending to be!

Heather Jackson said...

As already mentioned, the film Braveheart was filmed in Ireland even though the story was based in Scotland. There is a braveheart trail in Scotland which does not reflect scenes from the film in any way. I found that this spolit the film for me a little and did not connect me to the place. In contrast, the film Highlander was filmed in Scotland surrounding the exact locations that were written into the story. I visited the castle where it was filmed and another place called Glenfinnan. In my opinion this made both the film and location much more memorable and realistic to me.

Vikki O said...

I feel that often information given by the film companies can be misleading. After reading the book, I watched the Da Vinci Code. I thought the film was fantastic.

Then I later visited Westminister abbey, and was fascinated to see where some it was filmed. I later discovered those scenes were filmed in Lincoln Cathedral as the film company could not get permission.

Even though I understand this, I still felt cheated in some way. Film and Tourist companies should do more to advertise when displacement occurs.

Dave T said...

I can understand why some may not be happy about film companies and tour operators doing this.

However for me, I do not travel too much. I would rarely use films to decide where I am going for my holiday. I love films, and to me the visual impact and effects are more important. It wouldn`t particulary concern me if I found out the film was filmed in a different location from the story.

Danny M said...

Films are quite a big part of my life. After reading comments from others I can see how visiting a place where a film appears to be based could be distressing for some.

Personally for me, it would completely depend on the film. I love James Bond movies and they are often filmed in some fantastic locations. However, I am more interested in the action and the stunts.

But after watching the magnificent scenery in Lord of the Rings, I would love to visit New Zealand some day.

Andrea said...

As a massive fan of visiting new countries and also being invloved in media productions, i've been involved in shooting in numerous places for the same production.

Although I do find it interesting in how they are able to make something amazing and believable as a traveller, I like to see what's real.. SO in my case, I have a split view!

I love the romance of a new place and what untold tales it has to share with me.x

shepa said...

Thats a concept I don't understand, why say its filmed in one particular country & then go & film it in a completely different location..? I think over the years this has proven to be the case, so by & large I would expect people to double check so as not to shatter anyones expectations.

For a lot of people visiting a different country is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I wouldn't solely rely on what you see on screen.

FionaD said...

I would say, there are those who want to see where it was actually filmed, a 'purist movie tourist', and those who want to see the location where the film was depicting, a 'pure tourist' sold by the virtual film travel brochure. Of course, there are those who want to see both!

For me, I fall into the latter category of both! On a visit to Sri Lanka, I visited the site where Bridge on the River Kwai was actually filmed. This was not planned prior to the holiday but became an interesting detour when there. Of course, the film and the historical events it portrays are in Thailand. However, standing on the side of the river in Sri Lanka conjured up both images of the movie itself as well thoughts of the film actors, extras and crew once swarming around the place where I was standing. Visiting the actual film-set gave the film a certain tangibility that I could directly relate to, which was reinforced when I watched the film again on my return home. I am also keen to go the setting of the real Bridge over the Kwai in Thailand one day too. However, I do think that had the film been shot actually on location at the original setting in Thailand this would add a greater resonance and obvious authenticity both to the film and to the experience of a visit there.

jenna said...

It doesnt really make any diffference to me as i don't normally know where films are shot so i wouldnt base where i go on vaction on that fact.

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LostinScotland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LostinScotland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LostinScotland said...

Let me try this again, without all the typos.

I lived in Scotland for 6.5 years. I recently saw the "Waterhorse". The story is set in Scotland, supposedly about the Loch Ness monster. The filmography was all off. They used New Zealand and Scotland. They used Loch Fyne, no where near Loch Ness or that region. They super imposed Urqhuart Castle over pictures. Talk about cheap. Loch Ness does not eempty out directly to the sea but via the River Ness, past Inverness into the Moray Firth. And the mountains are not that high, Ben Nevis is the highest point in Britain at 4,406ft.

I thought that one of the shots were of the Five Sisters of Kintail and Loch Duich but now that I think about it, that must have been New Zealand.

How can you write a story, film a story without ever experiencing a country? I read a blog the other day about a romance writer that had written about Scotland for so many years and had never visited the country until recently. If we process information visually, even using our five senses, how can you write about something you've never experienced? I don't understand that. I'm sure it was one of her books I had picked up to read, found a discrepancy and put it back. Why do we have to save the almighty dollar or why do they have to film it in another country? I mean Scotland is visually dramatic. It is sad that directors and location personnel have to go to another country to get their story across.

I think they do a disservice to the audience as well as the country they are telling a story about.

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tropicaldancer said...

I haven't encountered this as far as I can remember. The recent example I have commented on here 'In Bruges' was actually filmed in Bruges I believe but I can understand that if it wasn't then I would be very confused as to where to visit and may end up not going anywhere at all to do with the film

MKirk said...

Very disappointed would be my answer! I don't think this should happen at all if possible. In my view it's always best if the place being portayed is where it was actually filmed. If it is different I would be very torn as to where to go. I feel I would probably have a strong desire to visit both. I like to visit what I have actually seen, to me thats authentic. However if the story or characters have influenced me then I like to visit places connected to them as well. Ideally it's better if this doesn't happen though!

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richard said...

Richard...not really bothered, has been very profitable for U K film studios to biuld sets at Shepperton near London, convenient for actors and film crew.

shagpile3 said...

i havn't given it a second thought ......movies are pure escapism ....they are as authentic as the budget allows

fleming said...

Apart from The Third Man another film that prompted me to visit Vienna recently was The Illusionist. The story about a stage magician at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was set in Vienna and played a definite part in me finally organising a trip to the city. It wasn’t until I got there that I found out the film wasn’t actually made in Vienna at all but in the Czech Republic. I was disappointed to learn this, though my main influence was The Third Man so my disappointment was short lived. Still, this is an interesting issue I hadn’t considered before and if I am interested to visit a place again because of a film I will definitely research it carefully before hand.

Irena said...

Some of my favorite travel destination discoveries have come from this sort of deception. A standout for me came from the most improbable source: a B grade (at best) movie courtesy of master thespian Sylvester Stallone.

“Cliffhanger” was set in the U.S. Rocky Mountains. While the movie was awful, the scenery during the rockclimbing sequences was incredible. Literally incredible—as in, it became increasingly difficult to believe that the U.S. mountain range I had seen many times in person could be so dramatic on the screen.

Wanting to know exactly where in the state of Colorado I could go to visit those breathtaking peaks highlighted in the movie, I stuck around for the credits. When the film crew names appeared, with one Italian after another rolling by, I knew something was up.

Following a little sleuthing, I later learned of the Dolomites, and resolved to visit them someday. Eventually I did, and they were even more spectacular in person. I suppose one could argue that the movie might have presented the same beautiful imagery while avoiding deception by simply basing the story in Italy. That would have entailed listening to Sylvester Stallone speak Italian for two hours; I’ll take deception, please!

Swotbabe said...

I have seen many movies portrayed in other countries, and this has often left me yearning to visit, especially as I am not well travelled. For that reason, to find out that a movie has been filmed elsewhere can be quite disappointing.

QuoVadis said...

My initial reaction when this happens is to feel cheated, especially so in historical films like Braveheart where panoramic vistas are constantly displayed and the location is integral to the plot. But that's just when watching the film. I guess if I really wanted to see a location because a film inspired me to do so, i'd do my research first.

Nut nut said...

It doesn't really have that much affect on myself, I don't do that much travelling and I do have more of an open mind that some film makers can't not actually go to the place they wish to film, due to laws, life risks, or just plain to expensive to actually do!! As long as the film is interesting and is trying to be as accurate as possible then I don't see the real harm.

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Nicholas Nuthall said...

I'm doing a project, researching Hisstory Vs Film and my case study is the Film Braveheart (1995)I was wondering what your thoughts are on this:
If you were for example visiting Scotland would you go for the History or because you liked how it was portrayed in the film
Any comments are Very Helpful and appreciated thanks

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