"All great literature is one of two stories," said Leo Tolstoy, a guy who would know. "A man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town." Fans of the romance film might make the case for a third possibility: the tale of strangers who meet in the midst of their own, intersecting journeys.
Cinema has long celebrated the kind of love that exists only when its co-conspirators are displaced from their normal lives -- sometimes by choice, sometimes not. "Meet Me In Montenegro," opening July 10 in limited release and on VOD, is the latest tale of two people who find themselves far from home and then find each other.
Here are some of the best films inspired by love on the move, in no particular order:
1. "Meet Me In Montenegro" (2015)
"Meet Me In Montenegro" tells the classic story of American boy meets Norwegian girl (then loses her, then finds her again while on a business trip to Berlin). Writer-director-stars Alex Holdridge and Linnea Saasen traipse around Europe after years apart in this new vision of the rom-com. The low-budget, hand-stitched vibe isn't the only reason "Meet Me In Montenegro" feels genuine: Holdrige and Saasen are real-life lovers and crafted the film around their own transcontinental romance.
2. "Y Tu Mamá También" (2001)
By the time Alfonso Cuarón cleaned up at the Oscars for flashy, intense "Birdman," the Mexican writer-director had been making inventive movies for several decades. A retooled take on the classic road movie, "Y Tu Mamá También" diverges from typical romance on pretty much every count. When Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) go on a wild journey across Mexico with an older woman, things get interesting. NC-17 interesting.
3. "Roman Holiday" (1953)
Audrey Hepburn's famous roles in "My Fair Lady" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" cast the legendary beauty as a plucky, down-on-her-luck gal. Hepburn's turn as Princess Ann in "Roman Holiday" gave her an equally charming shot at the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum. While on a visit to Rome, Ann decides she's had enough of the royal treatment and trades in her life for a new, less gilded one that includes -- and how could it not? -- a romance with a handsome American ex-pat.
4. "Before Sunrise" (1995)
"Before Sunrise," the first film in Richard Linklater's dreamy, all-dialogue trilogy, follows Céline (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), two young people who meet on a train and spend a night wandering the streets of Vienna. Tiny in scope, the movie is built entirely on meandering, dense, hyperrealistic conversation. Linklater, a man of infinite patience, reunited the actors nine years later for "Before Sunset," then waited another nine to conclude with "Before Midnight."
5. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008)
Love, sex, and Spain: These are the three intoxicating main ingredients of Woody Allen's critical hit "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." Americans Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) decide to spend a restful summer in Barcelona. Things get decidedly un-restful when they both become enamored of the same complicated, sexy artist -- and encounter his volatile ex-wife.
6. "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967)
Perhaps the most obvious choice for this list, but with good reason: "Bonnie and Clyde" is one of the most iconic love-stories-in-motion in cinematic history. When Bonnie (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde (Warren Beatty) go on a high-octane crime spree in the middle of the Great Depression, a whole host of craziness ensues. The movie has been celebrated even more with age, and even influenced the entire industry with its groundbreaking depictions of sex and violence on the big screen.
7. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (2005)
It may have been Pythagoras who first postulated that LENA + KOSTAS = FOREVER. Lena (Alexis Bledel) is a shy, artistic teenager visiting some family in Greece. Kostas (Michael Rady) is a the handsome Greek boy who steals her heart. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" defies stereotypes to show that teenagers can have glamorous, globe-hopping romances too (well, at least in fiction).
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