Directors, including Greek-American Alexander Payne, Recommend Films

April 24, 2020

NEW YORK – The Trip to Greece, a film comedy directed Michael Winterbottom and starring British actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, is set to be released in the United States in the summer of 2020. The film is the fourth in the comedy film franchise which began as the BBC television series The Trip in which Coogan and Brydon played fictionalized versions of themselves on a restaurant tour of northern England. The TV series was edited into a feature film in 2010 and continued with the sequels The Trip to Italy (2014) and The Trip to Spain (2016).

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on The Trip to Greece in an article that included well-known directors recommending films to help people “escape” the current lockdown situation.

The Trip to Greece “arrives at a moment when no one can go anywhere,” WSJ reported, adding that “the timing of the new film is either perfect or sadistic. Maybe both.”

Director Michael Winterbottom told WSJ, “I think all films are a form of documentary, what you’re trying to capture is a miniature version of the experience—like you’re on a journey and the film crew is recording it.”

Winterbottom recommended German director Werner Herzog’s 1982 film Fitzcarraldo, Herzog’s 1970 film Aguirre, the Wrath of God, and French director Louis Malle’s documentary God’s Country.

Greek-American Alexander Payne, the director and two-time Academy Award-winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for Sideways (2004) and The Descendants (2011), told WSJ, “Mindfulness teachers tell us always to be in the moment. Well, sometimes in moments like this, it’s good to get away from the moment. Fred Astaire used to say that he really liked a movie if it made him want to have been there—there as they were shooting, and there within the world of the film.”

Payne recommended David Lean’s 1955 film Summertime which starred Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi. “Who wouldn’t want to visit Venice in 1955? And with Katharine Hepburn?” Payne asked, WSJ reported.

Payne also recommended The Red Balloon by director Albert Lamorisse and The River by French director Jean Renoir. “I remember being absolutely transported by it, lulled almost hypnotically into its vision and rhythms,” Payne said of The River, WSJ reported.

Sofia Coppola recommended Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love, Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, and Jane Campion’s The Piano.

Lulu Wang chose Belle de Jour, Tampopo, and Gravity, while Dee Rees recommended Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the WSJ reported.


Once upon a time there was a film that didn't know what it was.

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