International View

2018

InternationalView

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LAWRENCE OF ARABIA: JORDAN

Still a byword for epic desert landscapes, David Lean’s 1962 film starring Peter O’Toole was partly shot around Wadi Rum in Jordan, which was the cinematic home to the camps of Auda (Anthony Quinn) and Feisal (Alec Guinness). Production designer John Box, described it as: “Towering red cliffs rising two or three thousand feet from the pink, sandy floor, it was grand and romantic.” It still is, especially at sunrise and sunset when the sun flares off those pinks and reds; you can camp under star-filled night skies so you can witness both. Wadi Rum also appears in Star Wars: Rogue One . The country also features in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), where the rock-carved “Rose City” of Petra (one of Lawrence’s favourite places) plays a pivotal role.

STARWARS: BOLIVIA

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: NORWAY

JURASSIC PARK: HAWAII

Without doubt the most famous of Star Wars locations is Matmata in Tunisia, which stands in for arid Tatooine and features the sunken troglodyte dwellings, but 2017’s The Last Jedi had somewhere even more bleak but beautiful. For the Ånal sho_do_n, the salt Æats of ;alar de Uyuni in Bolivia were transformed into the sodium-chloride-encrusted Planet Crait. This part of the country’s Altiplano plateau is lung-burningly high (12,000 feet above sea level), mind-blowingly vast and eye-searingly white, although the emptiness is ameliorated by the annual ^isit of three ÆaUinOo sXeKies e^era November. It is best explored by four- wheel drive from the town of Uyuni.

Another ÅlU series that is no stranOer to breathtaking sets – remember Tom Cruise on top of Utah’s Dead Horse Point in Mission: Impossible 2 ? For Mission: Impossible 6 (due out in July), he is climbing again, this time in the fjords of Norway. Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) is an extraordinary mountain plateau/viewing platform at Lysefjord. It is a vertiginous no-barriers 604m above the icy waters of the fjord – imagine a giant diving board made of roKS XrotrudinO froU the Kli ٺ faKe. Cruise and crew came in by helicopter, mere mortals have a four-hour return hike from Preikestolen Vandrerhjem, east of Stavanger. Bring a head for heights. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDENDRAGON: CHINA When Ang Lee made this ground- breaking, visually stunning martial arts film in 2000, he used many of the sets at Hengdian World Studios, in Hengdiang, a town in the mountainous eastern province of Zhejiang. This is the equivalent of Universal Studios, with theme park rides and hotels as well as actual shooting lots for TV and film (hengdianworld.com). One of the most memorable scenes, though, is the gravity-defying treetop fight and this was shot in the Anhui Bamboo Forest at Mukeng, a couple of miles east of Hongcunzhen. The latter is the medieval village, full of ponds and waterways, which featured in the movie. It is actually a Unesco World Heritage Site, not far from the strange, jutting granite peaks and hot springs of Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), a major destination for hikers in China. Further information on these (relatively) remote areas can be found on the China National Tourist Office (cnto.org).

GLADIATOR: MOROCCO A former Foreign Legion post called Ouarzazate, on the southern side of the Atlas range from Marrakesh, has become the Hollywood of North Africa. The attraction is its proximity to e`otiK loKations suKh as the fortiÅed town (ksar) of Aït Benhaddou. The list of ÅlUs shot at this KlaaKoloured Unesco World Heritage Site village is impressive, including Jesus of Nazareth (1977), The Living Daylights (1987), The Mummy (1999) and Prince of Persia (2010). That’s right, if you want biblical gravitas, merciless burning sands or Arabian Nights splendour, this is the place for you. And yes, Game of Thrones has been here. Gladiator (2000) really made the most of the location, utilising the town and surrounding area as the backdrop for the slavery, desert travel, and gladiatorial training-school scenes. More impressively, its designers called upon the kind of local construction techniques that built the Ssar in the Årst XlaKe to Kreate a , seat arena built entirely of mud bricks. Who needs CGI, anyway? · in 2une this aear _ith the Åfth entra, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom . Like the Xre^ious ÅlUs, it _as Uostla shot in the lush jungles of Kaui, the loveliest (and smallest) of the major Hawaiian islands (also used in King Kong , the Indiana Jones movies and the TV series Lost ). Locations inKlude the Oreen sloXes and sheer Kli ٺ s of the Na Pali Coast and the spectacular Manawaiopuna Falls in the Hanapepe Valley. You can tour sites by helicopter or by four-wheel drive. You just can’t keep a good raptor down: this series returns · as does 2e / ٺ oldJluU

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN: THAILAND The seductive allure of the ‘exotic location’ has always been a key ingre- dient in the recipe for any James Bond film and some spots such as Piz Gloria, the revolving restaurant on the Schil- thorn in Mürren, Switzerland ( On Her Majesty’s Secret Service ), the Lake Palace at Udaipur, India ( Octopussy ) and Iguaçu Falls on the Brazilian Argentine border ( Moonraker ) have become star attrac- tions. But arguably the one that tops them all in terms of visitor numbers is ‘James Bond Island’ near Phuket in Thailand, as seen in Roger Moore’s The Man With The Golden Gun (1974). Scaramanga’s hideout is in reality Khow Ping Kan, one of a chain of small, jungle-covered limestone pillars that rise spectacularly from the turquoise waters of Phang Nga Bay, Phuket. It can be very busy with boat-going sightseers in peak tourist season, although you could take a more sedate canoe trip, which offers the chance of more serene explorations.

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