You don’t have to go on a getaway to get away.
Whether you’re hunkering down or staycationing, you can count on these films and TV shows to inspire you and transport you across the world without leaving the comfort of home.
If You Never Miss a Museum…
If you love the experience of immersing yourself in the art that has shaped and reflected a place, skip your Netflix and your Hulu, and go straight to the hand-curated collections of streaming services like the Criterion Channel (which features titles from the Criterion Collection’s library of important classic and contemporary films) and Mubi (which adds a new classic, cult favorite, festival darling, or something else film buffs are sure to love every day).
The Criterion Channel allows you filter by country, so you can explore the works of directors from your favorite places or discover a filmmaker that will inspire your next adventure. So you can start your day dining in Denmark with Babette’s Feast, spend your afternoon breezily strolling the streets of a small Tuscan town, contemplating the nature of art and relationships with director Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy, and close out your day with Hong Kong film industry icon Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express.
INSIDER TIPCheck and see if your library partners with Kanopy. If it does, all you need is your library card to stream an impressive collection of classic and new movies. What movies you’ll be able to stream is different depending on your library, but could potentially include films distributed by A24 (such as Midsommar, last year’s Rorschach test on whether or not a romantic trip to rural Sweden sounds like a good idea) as well as titles from the Criterion Collection.
If You Can’t Stop Scrolling Through Instagram…
It’s just a fact of modern vacationing that many of our own travels are inspired by the carefully-framed photos we find on a certain image-based social media platform. After all, who hasn’t navigated onto their Explore page to find a train rumbling through a verdant forest or the view of a European capital from a beautifully appointed hotel room and thought, “Where is that and how can I get there?” For the staycationer looking to enter the symmetrical, pastel-hued worlds of the travel Instagram influencer class, there’s no better filmography to settle in with than that of Wes Anderson.
Check into the millennial pink, old world luxury of The Grand Budapest Hotel, relive your summer camp days (and pre-teen ennui) with Moonrise Kingdom, and/or journey across India aboard The Darjeeling Limited (and its accompanying, Paris-set short Hotel Chevalier).
If Your Reservations Have Been Canceled…
Whether you’re a grounded gourmand or an amateur (very, very amateur) cook just now getting acquainted with their home kitchen, start your culinary viewing with Netflix’s excellent documentary series Salt Fat Acid Heat. Based on host Samin Nosrat’s bestselling book of the same name, this series examines the four most basic elements of what makes food taste good: the eponymous salt, fat, acid, and heat. Globetrotting her way from Japan to Italy to Mexico, Nosrat explores why these elements are, quite literally, universally found in delicious food. Plus, you’ll pick up some interesting tips on how to step up your home cooking game (Did you know that most us are too shy with how much salt we use, leaving our meals under seasoned? So feel free to get wild with that Morton’s!).
For those with, shall we say, unconventional tastes, take a stab at Hannibal, showrunner Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of pop culture’s favorite cannibal. It’s a show that’s gory (as one might expect from a series about a literal cannibal) but its many gut-churning tableaus are presented with artfully strange panache (It’s a minor miracle that this thing aired for three seasons on good ‘ol broadcast television.) All of this is to say, this show might not be for everyone. But if it’s for you, Dr. Lecter’s (Mads Mikkelsen) parade of plaid suiting and stylized presentation of his various people-forward meals gorgeous enough to rival that of anything you’ll see on Chef’s Table are really for you.
If You’ve Watched Everything Else…
As more and more Americans limit their time outside their homes to essential errands, movie theaters have taken a huge hit. In response, Universal Pictures has made the unprecedented decision of making several of its current run movies available on video on-demand platforms. That means if you get to the point where you’ve burned through the best of what Netflix and its ilk have to offer, you can catch the well-reviewed horror-thriller The Invisible Man or (for something less stressful) director Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma while maintaining proper social distance.