Travel films for the couch surfer

By Collection Management Librarian Andrea Trejo

With school starting and summer vacation coming to a close, the end of another summer feels just on the horizon. But that doesn’t mean your adventures have to come to an end!

Whether you prefer the comfort of your own space or are in-between travel adventures, check out these travel films that will transport you far from home—while at home…

Travel documentaries & films



Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day (rated NR)

Who should watch it: Military and pilgrimage enthusiasts can find something to enjoy in this cross-generational documentary.

Description: Don McCarthy was 20 years old on D-Day when his infantry division landed on Omaha Beach. Don and the other veterans who survived D-Day will someday soon have passed into memory and legend. This realization inspired 20-year-old filmmaker Charlotte Juergens to join Don and seven other D-Day vets on a journey to France, a commemorative pilgrimage to Omaha Beach for the 70th anniversary of the invasion.

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Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (rated PG)

Who should watch it: If you're looking for a heartfelt transformation journey, this one is for you.

Description: A young teacher in modern Bhutan shirks his duties while planning to go to Australia to become a singer. As a reprimand, his superiors send him to the most remote school, a village called Lunana, to complete his service. Though poor, the villagers welcome their new teacher, but he faces the daunting task of teaching without any supplies. He wants to quit and go home; but as he learns of the hard lives of the children, he begins to be transformed by the amazing spiritual strength of the villagers.

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Hit the Road (rated NR)

Who should watch it: If you're looking for tender family moments on a road trip adventure, try this film.

Description: It follows a family—two middle-aged parents and their two sons—as they drive across the Iranian countryside. Throughout the trip, they bond over memories of the past, grapple with fears of the unknown, and fuss over their sick dog. The result is a humanist drama that offers an authentic, raw, and deeply sincere observation of an Iranian family preparing to part with one of their own.

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The Sanctity of Space (rated NR)

Who should watch it: This is for anyone who wants to briefly escape the hot and humid Chicagoland weather.

Description: Climbers/filmmakers Renan Ozturk and Freddie Wilkinson retrace the steps of a pioneering mountaineer, cartographer, and aerial photographer Bradford Washburn (1910-2007), who put up many of the first ascents in Alaska. Taking inspiration from Washburn's iconic aerial photographs of Denali National Park, Ozturk and Wilkinson attempt the unprecedented traverse of the Moose's Tooth massif.

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Duty Free (rated NR)

Who should watch it: While heartbreaking, this is a sweet documentary for those looking for an unforgettable adventure between a mother and her adult son.

Description: After a 75-year-old immigrant mother gets fired from her job, her son takes her on a bucket-list adventure to reclaim her life. As she struggles to find work, he documents a journey that uncovers the betrayals plaguing her past and the economic insecurity shaping not only her future but also that of an entire generation.

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Drive My Car (rated NR)

Who should watch it: This drama is for anyone who is chipping away at the most recent Oscar winners.

Description: Two years after his wife's unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku arrives in Hiroshima to direct a production of Uncle Vanya for a theater festival and finds himself confronting emotional scars. This quietly mesmerizing tale of love, art, grief, and healing is ultimately a cathartic exploration of what it means to go on living when there seems to be no road ahead.

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Free Solo (rated NR)

Who should watch it: Not everyone wants to live life on the edge. Some of us just want to do it vicariously through someone else.

Description: Despite attempts by his friends, loved ones, and his new girlfriend to dissuade him from this dangerous feat, Alex Honnold, the world's most accomplished free soloist climber, prepares mentally and physically for his most daring adventure to date: scaling the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite without a rope or safety gear. If he succeeds, it will mark the largest wall he—or anyone else, for that matter—has ascended without any kind of equipment.

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Andrea Trejo

About Andrea

Collection Management Librarian Andrea is an avid audiobook and manga reader. When she isn't chipping away at her reading list she's attending local pop culture conventions.

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