The Mission – directed by Roland Joffé, starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons Winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986 and a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music for its moving soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. The Mission covers the experiences of a Jesuit Missionary in 18th Century Argentina as he seeks to build a mission station and convert the local Guarani community to Christianity. The film is set in the rainforest around Iguazu – Jesuit ruins are a lasting legacy of their efforts over 250 years on.
Planet Earth II, “Jungles” Episode – BBC Documentary Part of the BBC’s award-winning Planet Earth series presented by Sir David Attenborough, the “Jungles” episode explores the richest habitats on the planet – mysterious worlds of high drama where extraordinary animals attempt to survive in the most competitive places on earth. Flooded forests are home to caiman-hunting jaguars and strange dolphins that swim amongst the tree tops, while in the dense underworld, ninja frogs fight off wasps and flying dragons soar between trees. Look out for the Iguazu portion, which was filmed in Argentina’s Atlantic Rainforest.
Todo Sobre el Asado – Netflix Documentary A quirky examination of Argentina’s culture, customs and cuisine sliced into an in-depth investigation of the country’s traditional barbecue, which is both meal and ritual and an essential feature of Argentinian national identity.
Chef’s Table, Volume 1, Episode 3 on Francis Mallmann – Netflix Documentary Much of the episode was filmed in Patagonia, offering a profile of renowned Argentinian chef and restaurateur Francis Mallmann famous for open-fire cooking and a focus on Patagonian cuisine and cooking methods.
The Old Patagonian Express – Paul Theroux A written account of a train journey taken by novelist and travel-writer Paul Theroux from his home town in Massachusetts, across the North American plains to Mexico, though Central America and down to Argentine Patagonia, giving a deep insight and flavour into the people and cultures of the countries along the way. In Buenos Aires he meets Jorge Luis Borges, one of the Spanish language’s most influential literary figures.
Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges A series of short stories produced between 1941 and 1956 by the Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. Ficciones, made up of two parts (The Garden of Forking Parts and Artifices) is a collection of stories showcasing Borge’s skill as a short story author.
The Motorcycle Diaries – directed by Walter Salles, starring Gael Garcia Bernal Biopic about the 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara’s 1952 motorcycle expedition across South America with his friend Alberto Granado. Both a coming-of-age and road trip movie, the film shows how the trip across the continent, and the poverty, hunger and social injustices encountered on the way, planted the seeds of radicalization in Ernesto, who would later become internationally known as the iconic Marxist guerrilla commander and revolutionary Che Guevara.
Cuentos de la Selva (“Jungle Tales”) – Horacio Quiroga A series of short stories set in the jungle written by Uruguayan author Horacio Quiroga. Influenced by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the fantastical stories feature talking animals and are set in the rainforests around Misiones. Quiroga is known as one of the early proponents of “magical realism”, a writing style famously employed by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 100 Years of Solitude and Love in a Time of Cholera.
Across Patagonia – Florence Dixie A fascinating account of English socialite Lady Florence Dixie’s travels across Patagonia in the 1870s and her observations of the landscapes and inhabitants.
In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin Described by the New York Times as “a masterpiece of travel, history and adventure”, this award-winning book captures the spirit of the land, history, wildlife and people of Patagonia, following Chatwin’s six-month exploration of the region, earning a place among the great works of travel literature.
Patagonia, a Cultural History (Landscapes of Imagination) – Chris Moss A vivid and accessible introduction to Patagonia’s history and culture, the book follows a colourful cast of characters, from Magellan and Darwin to mad kings, gauchos, and Nazi fugitives, as it evokes Patagonia’s grip on the popular imagination.
180 Degrees South – Documentary The film follows adventurer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, founders of the brand Patagonia and The North Face and Esprit respectively, from California to Patagonia.
Wild Patagonia – BBC Documentary Fascinating documentary about the rugged terrain of South America’s Patagonia region, an arid mix of mountains, deserts and coasts supporting a diverse animal population.
Enduring Patagonia – Gregory Crouch A breath-taking odyssey through one of the world’s last wild places, a land that requires great sacrifice but offers great rewards to those who dare to challenge it. Enduring Patagonia is an account of Gregory Crouch’s seven expeditions to this windswept edge of the Southern Hemisphere, where he has braved weather, gravity, fear, and doubt to try himself in the alpine crucible of Patagonia.
Imagining the Atacama Desert – Richard Francaviglia Bringing together the works of geographers, historians, anthropologists, botanists, geologists, astronomers and novelists, and pulling from the accounts of pirates, explorers, scientists and entrepreneurs, Imagining the Atacama Desert covers five hundred years of history of this iconic and intriguing region, offering a nuanced view of complex desert landscape of the Atacama.
Desert Memories, A Journey through the Chilean North – Ariel Dorfman In this richly layered personal memoir by the Chilean novelist, playwright and journalist, Dorfman sets out to explore the origins of contemporary Chile as he travels with his wife from Santiago to the Atacama Desert. Along the way, they seek out his wife’s European ancestors who came to Chile as part of the 19th Century nitrate rush and, most poignantly, look for traces of his friend and fellow 1960s activist, Freddy Taberna, executed by firing squad in a remote Pinochet death camp.
Magical Andes (Netflix) – Creators:Luis Ara, Alexandra Hardorf From Argentina to Colombia, this stunning documentary follows five characters who share their deep connection to South America’s majestic mountains. Chapter 1 (“Argentina & Chile – From the southern ice”) also depicts some incredible images from Patagonia like Torres del Paine, the Perito Moreno glacier, but it is only in chapters 2 and 3 (“From the Aconcagua to the Desert” and “The Door to the Altiplano”) where the lanscape and culture of northern Chile and Bolivia can be appreciated.
CHILE – GENERAL READING
Inés of My Soul – Isabel Allende Absorbing historical novel written as an account by an elderly Inés Suárez writing a memoir of her life as she accompanied Pedro de Valdivia and his army of Spanish conquistadors on the conquest of modern-day Chile, marching South from Peru in search of a lost empire and to found the City of Santiago.
My Invented Country – Isabel Allende An eccentric, inspiring and passionate memoir by one of Chile’s most well-known authors, covering Allende’s childhood in Chile, the assassination of her cousin, the president Salvador Allende, and self-imposed exile in both Venezuela and the USA.
Of Love and Shadows – Isabel Allende Moving story of Irene, a magazine editor living under the shadow of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, and Francisco, a photographer, who embark on a passionate affair whilst investigating atrocities committed by the authorities.
This Thing of Darkness – Harry Thompson Set in the period from 1828 to 1865, This Thing of Darkness is a historical novel telling the fictionalised biography of Robert FitzRoy, who was given command of HMS Beagle halfway through her first voyage, and his relationship with Charles Darwin, who travelled as his companion on the Beagle’s famous second voyage.
The Voyage of the Beagle – Charles Darwin Darwin’s account of his part in the HMS Beagle’s second survey expedition from 1831 to 1836, which forms a vivid travel memoir as well as a scientific field journal by one of modern science’s most famous figures.
Travels in a Thin Country – Sara Wheeler Eloquent, astute, nimble with history and deftly amusing, Travels in a Thin Country established Sara Wheeler as one of the very best travel writers in the world as it covers her solo trip from the North of the country to the South.
A Nation of Enemies – Pamela Constable and Arturo Valenzuela A detailed account of Chile under Pinochet as well as the socio-economic factors that led to his coup, A Nation of Enemies investigates how Chile, once South America’s most stable democracy, gave way to a culture of fear whilst outlining and illuminating the rift in Chilean society that widened dramatically during the Pinochet era.
A Wildlife Guide to Chile – Sharon Chester Chester’s splendid guide, featuring 120 color photos, covers the wildlife, plants and natural history of Chile from the Atacama Desert and Patagonia to Easter Island and Antarctica.
Birds of Chile – Alvaro Jaramillo This compact, comprehensive guide with superb color photos also includes Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
Birds of Southern South America & Antarctica – Martin R. de la Peña and Maurice Rumboll With colour photos, range maps and brief descriptions, this is a compact regional guide.
Plant Life in the World’s Mediterranean Climates – Paul Dallman Richly illustrated, clearly written and engaging, this book is an ecological overview of the landscapes, plants and vegetation types found in Mediterranean climates
You can always find travel inspiration at our Awasi Film Collection.