Let's put aside subject of traveling for a little bit.
Recently, in my the Russian-language blog, I got asked the following question:
Could you please recommend a movie that you think lays up a claim for being deep and thought-provoking.
I will share my opinion here, as well.
There are three categories of worthy movies, in my opinion. Clearly, this categorization itself is arbitrary, as well as including a particular film in one of these categories.
The first category is for well-made movies, that raise interesting questions. They require only watching and do not demand from a viewer neither a high level of background knowledge nor knowledge of the cinematographic language. At the same time they provide a good topic for an evening discussion. For example, I would put the following films into this group: "Calvary"(2014), "The Lives of Others"(2006), "The Reader"(2008), "A Dangerous Method"(2011) and "Melancholia". I understand that some of these films can be attributed to a "higher” category, but I consider viewer’s level of background knowledge to be the main separating factor here.
The second category is for the movies that have a complex multi-layer structure and although they can be watched by ?? unprepared audience, they fully open up to the soul of someone who has seen and read a lot before. Out of the recent ones there is "The Great Beauty" or, perhaps, "Faust" by Sokurov (that has recently won the Cannes Lyon). This particular one you can watch right off the bat, however, if you do not know Faustian European discourse deep enough it will not be as interesting.
Finally, the third category is the highest level of the Cinéma d'auteur. I do not recommend watching it without being properly prepared or having serious viewing experience. If you start ? path of a serious movie-viewer with Fellini or just some ultra radical art-house you risk to end it right there.
By the way, moving away from the original question. One of my commentators in the discussion expressed an interesting point of view on the subject of films.
One of the things that I fortunately have realized quite early is that one must watch and read pieces that one really like and not pretend. This does not mean that it is not worth it to experiment and grow as a reader (viewer), it’s just that this process must be organic and honest.
Obviously, there are some books for which I am not ready and hardly ever will be, because they require specific knowledge and education, which I do not possess.
And that's fine.
I’ve read a lot and I think that my level as a reader is quite high. But what's the difference? There is no need to compare yourself to others. You just have to choose what you like and enjoy it.
If you're high from Russian classics, wonderful, happy for you. On the other hand, many people are reading it under the influence of the social pressure; in order to seem smarter than other people in your own eyes or someone else’s. This is stupid and harmful. It is unlikely to be optimal, either, considering how many millions of books there are in the world and that modern authors are by default culturally and mentally closer to you.
Many people do not read at all, because they’ve made too many bad choices in the past and they eventually surrendered. It is too bad. Be honest with yourself and experiment, it is likely that sooner or later you will discover the brave new world.
I will develop this idea further. Many people do not read good books and do not watch good movies because of the wrong approach. They tried to overcome the complicated things without being ready for it. For many people the school experience was traumatizing in this way. In that case, one must put it behind, as a bad dream and approach the “dive” into the culture in the right way.
I often hear that this or that choice is a matter of taste. But the taste is not a random number generator. It requires education and hard workon oneself. Selection of books by Danielle Steel is not a "matter of taste", it is the result of one's ignorance and of the readiness to consume trash.
If you do not work on developing your taste, you can only choose from a set of dishes, limited by your abilities.
But if you step on the “yellow brick road” leading deep into the culture, then after a while you will discover in amazement what a great beauty is hidden in the thungs that seemed dull, incomprehensible and "inappropriate for your taste" just recently.
You will begin to get enjoyment, not only because of the twisted plot and the fictional world order but also because of how exactly the writer made this world work, what this masterpiece consists of and how this world has been constructed by the master. Each book will become an adventure for you, a journey into the world created by the author, the world that you will be exploring and getting to know. And if you meet people who will accompany you in this quest, the quality of your life will increase manyfold.