The whole country has spent much of 2020 at home, but it's felt like years, hasn't it? We’re starting to forget what trees look like and the feel of grass beneath our feet — what are those flying things emitting that pleasant chirping sound? Clearly we’re yearning to be in nature, especially us city dwellers who barely had access to the great outdoors even before this pandemic began.
Lucky for you, our wide selection of shows and films not only allow you to travel the world from your couch, but also offers a path straight into nature. Miss the mountains? Come get sweeping views of the Alps. Are you more of a beach person? We have the beautiful Cape Verde islands. Or maybe you prefer a more quaint countryside scene. We have that too, in Italy, Spain, and China. Stream these eight titles on Topic for some breathtaking virtual nature.
This ethereal drama is sort of like Steve Coogan’s “The Trip to Italy” meets David Lynch, but with lots of cows. A masked character named Pulcinella rescues a calf and together they travel through the Italian countryside searching for something that may no longer exist. If you’ve ever fantasized about moving to the European countryside and starting your own farm, this will give you a no-frills look at what that life looks like.
2. Kaili Blues
Set in Guizhou province, China, “Kaili Blues” follows a doctor named Chen who travels to a mysterious, mystical town to find his brother’s abandoned child. The film provides gorgeous shots of the fog-shrouded countryside as we see Chen trekking by train and motorbike. One scene features a tranquil raft ride down a placid river. You can almost feel the cool mist in the air.
3. Pagan Peak
Though the premise is more like a nightmare than a vacation, “Pagan Peak” (originally titled “Der Pass” in Germany) provides plenty of natural eye candy. In between scenes of ritual-inspired murders, detective investigations, and horned monsters are breathtaking aerial shots of the Alpine wilderness. The stark white snowscape of the Alps laced with dark, dense woods will make you feel like you’re on a European ski trip. So light a fire and make yourself a hot cocoa and cozy up to “Pagan Peak.”
4. Summer 1993
Like “Call Me By Your Name” did with the Italian countryside, “Summer 1993” brings the Spanish countryside to life as a character of its own, a sort of mentor that helps guide 6-year-old Frida through the first summer after her mother’s death. You will not only be charmed by the tree-filled scenery, but you’ll be absolutely taken with young Laia Artigas’s performance as Frida.
The Spanish countryside also features prominently in this crime documentary, but the story is not nearly as joyful. When a Dutch couple escape the big city to live off the land in Santoalla, Spain, they butt heads with the town’s only remaining residents. Despite the tragic results, the couple’s quaint farm situated among lush hills provides a glimpse of what could have been a very idyllic life.
When a linguist travels to the jungles of Mexico to revive the lost language of Zikril, which is on the verge of disappearance, he discovers a hidden secret that lies within the language. His journey will take you through lush jungles, onto sprawling, untouched beaches, and to the top of verdant mountains for some seriously killer views.
If you’re even more of a hard-core jungle explorer, then it doesn’t get more “heart of the jungle” than the Amazon. Filmed in black and white, “Embrace of the Serpent” offers some of the most stunning shots of the Amazon River and forest ever seen on screen. In line with the film’s message, the sheer beauty of the Amazon alone will compel the viewer to want to save this natural land.
8. Casa de Lava
“Casa de Lava” transports viewers to the rarely-before-seen Cape Verde islands off the western coast of Africa. The film features stunning cinematography thanks to the otherworldly nature of the island’s rocky hills, lava rocks, and distant volcanos. Bet you never thought you’d visit such a unique place.