Introducing… Traveling Through Cinema: In Bruges

Hello everybody! I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while so today I’m starting a new feature on FlixChatter! Not sure how often I’ll have this, probably once a month or a couple times a month, we’ll see :)

Well, since I love both movies and travel, why not combine those two passions? Inspired by my recent viewing of The Wings of the Dove which has a gorgeous scenery of Venice, I might as well start this feature this week. But for the feature debut, I want to do a movie that I saw on the plane which inspires me to actually visit later this year (God willing).

So… I present to you the beautiful scenery of …

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In Bruges was set in the picturesque city in Belgium and it’s practically one of the stars in the movie! Located in the northwest side of Belgium, the historic city center is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO since 2000 (per Wiki). I marvel at the beautiful Medieval architecture and the gorgeous canals that were used for transportation, no wonder it’s dubbed the Venice of the North.

I love how the characters are also tourists from Belfast so we could live vicariously through them as we watch the movie. It’s a nice bonus to see such a beautifully-shot film that’s also loaded with such witty dialog (albeit too foul-mouthed for my liking, but I guess I have to live with that). Even in the opening sequence when Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) just arrive in town, the dialog is hilarious! By the order of their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes), the two Irish hitmen are sent to lay low in the Medieval town in Belgium. Ken was pretty glad about the prospect of spending a fortnight there, but Ray doesn’t share his sentiment.

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Ray: Bruges is a shithole.
Ken: Bruges *is* not a shithole.
Ray: Bruges *is* a shithole.
Ken: Ray, we only just got off the f****** train! Could we reserve judgement on Bruges until we’ve seen the f****** place?

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I’ll be sure to visit this site when it gets closer to my travel date to Bruges, as it has all the filming locations and the scenes where they appear. But for this post, I just want to capture the glorious scenery of the film… both day and night.

Bruges during the day…

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Director Martin McDonaugh goofing off with his cast on set.

Yeah Brendan, I’d be laughing too if I get to spend weeks filming in Bruges!

Bruges at Night …

It’s so picturesque during the day, but at night this city is even more breathtakingly beautiful.

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This one has got to be one of the funniest scenes in the film.

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Ticket Seller: The tower is closed this evening.
Ken: No way, it’s supposed to be open until seven.
Ticket Seller: The tower is usually open until seven, yesterday an American had a heart attack at the tower, today the tower is closed.
Harry: [Harry hands ticket seller 100 Euros] Here cranky, here’s a hundred for you. Were only gonna be twenty minutes.
Ticket Seller: [crumples the money and throws it at Harry’s head]
Ticket Seller: [tapping on Harry’s forehead] The tower… is closed… this evening! Understand? English man!

The Bell Tower ticket guy obviously has no clue about Harry and what he could do, which makes the whole thing even more hilarious!! Brendan Gleeson’s expression in this whole scene is just priceless! I certainly hope when I get to the tower, the attendant wouldn’t be such a jerk, ahah.

Romance In Bruges

Since the film was set during the Christmas Holidays, the lights makes it even more stunning, not to mention romantic. Clemence Posey and Colin Farrell have an effortless chemistry… made even more bewitching by the glorious setting around them.

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In Bruges is destined to be a cult classic thanks to Martin McDonaugh‘s direction, but given the nature of the post, I have to shine a spotlight to the cinematographer: Eigil Bryld. Here’s a short bio on the Danish cinematographer per Focus Features:

Eigil Bryld previously was cinematographer on Julian Jarrold’s Becoming Jane for In Bruges producers Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin. He also shot the same director’s Kinky Boots. His other feature credits as cinematographer include James Marsh’s The King, starring Gael García Bernal and William Hurt; Hella Joof’s Oh Happy Day; and Scott Burns’ The Half Life of Timofey Berezin.

In 2003, Mr. Bryld won the award for Most Innovating Cinematography at the Madridimagen Festival in Madrid, for his work on Dariusz Steiness’ Charlie Butterfly. In 2001, he received a BAFTA Award for his work on James Marsh’s Wisconsin Death Trip.

Can you believe it he received NO award nor even nominations for his work in In Bruges?? What a travesty!

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McDonaugh at the belfry of Bruges, or Belfort, a medieval bell tower in the historical center of Bruges

If you haven’t seen In Bruges, yet. I highly recommend it. I don’t know why it took me so long to finally see it. I’d definitely re-watch this again on Blu-ray so I can really appreciate some of the details, those small TV screen on the plane just doesn’t do it justice!

Image sources: Fanpop.com, Blu-ray.com
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I hope you’ve enjoyed living vicariously through these pictures. Let me know your thoughts on the movie or if you’ve been to Bruges, feel free to share your experience there.

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42 thoughts on “Introducing… Traveling Through Cinema: In Bruges

  1. I’ve been there not too long ago when it was really cold and it’s a beautiful little town. We had to keep going into places to keep warm but that did add to the experience.

  2. Great new feature Ruth. You know it’s funny, I’ve been thinking about something similar to this but I couldn’t quite put it together in a satisfying way. I think you’ve done it. I love it when a movie incorporates a location or setting into the film. Not just as a setting but visually. “In Bruges” certainly does that although I never quite made it through the entire film. The only thing I can remember is that it was pretty salty but it had some funny, funny moments. Anxious to see where we travel to next!

    • Oh you should still do it Keith! I remember your Paris post was awesome. I just love being able to travel vicariously through the movies.

      This movie is certainly quite dark but surprisingly hilarious too! Thanks Keith!

  3. Good idea for an article Ruth, I wasn’t interested in seeing In Brudges until a friend convinced me and I thought it’s very good. I’d love to see that city too. Since I also love to travel (when I have some free time that is) I always love watching movies that really pay attention to the location. I remember seeing the original Superman film when I was very little and wanted to see NYC (Metropolis) right away. I thought the first Mission: Impossible did a good job of showing the city of Prague in details and I want to visit there someday.

    • You’re right, not a lot of films pay close attention to the location, even if it’s set in a beautiful city. Good call on Superman, they do make NYC looks awesome! I should rewatch the first MI film, do you have the Blu-ray I could borrow? I forgot it was set in Prague, another Euro city I’m dying to visit!

      • Yeah I have Mission Impossible on Bluray, the first half the film took place in Prague, then they went to D.C. and to London.

        Two films that I thought really captured the look and feel of a city, Michael Mann’s Heat and Collateral. I thought he did a great job of showing the real L.A., not the glitz and glamour some people believe it to be.

        • May I borrow it Ted?

          Oh yeah, Michael Mann is like the expert in capturing a city. Totally agree with Collateral. I might feature that on this series, though I’m always so enamored with Europe :D

  4. Great feature Ruth! I love In Bruges and I would absolutely love to visit. It’s not too far from the UK so it’s definitely feasible, although not the cheapest place I’m led to believe. I bet it was so much fun to film that movie, I can certainly think of worse places to work.

    • You should really visit, Terry, it’s a lot closer for you than I here on the other side of the pond :D Funny you mention it’s not a cheap place as Eric just said how expensive it was. But yeah, must be nice to film there AND get paid to do it!

  5. This is an awesome idea for a feature, Ruth! I have been meaning to rewatch In Bruges since I went to the city a few years back. I can get the resentment of the main characters, but it really is a fun place to visit. My girlfriend and I went to a way-off-the-beaten-path bar — supposed to be one of the best in the world — and we met the nicest elderly couple there. We shared a table, bought each other drinks and had a great time!

    I see that you will be visiting later this year. Where else are you going? Oh, and one thing about Bruges — it’s very expensive! I can imagine it’s only gotten pricier since I was there.

    • Ooooh you’ve just been there recently? How lucky! Meeting new people is really one of the best thing about traveling isn’t it? We’re hoping to visit Amsterdam, Bruges and Paris since we only have 10 days. Since Bruges is right in the middle between those two cities, we figure we’ll just spend a night there. How expensive it is? I mean what’s an average dinner there? Hmmm, maybe we’ll make sure to be frugal in the other places and just splurge in Bruges :D

      • That’s going to be a great trip! Paris isn’t cheap either, though. :) I honestly can’t remember specifics for pricing, but I remember browsing many of the “quaint” shops in Bruges and being shocked at how pricey their gifts were (especially chocolate!). A lot of the restaurants there are expensive, but it might not be as bad for you since you’re not a beer drinker. I had to make sure to try all sorts of the world-famous Belgian beer :) We even did a tour of the De Halve Maan brewery, which had an awesome view of the city from their rooftop.

        • Ahah, I count myself lucky that I can’t stand alcohol. Yeah I imagine that’d be expensive to try to drink all that beer, ahah. I’m not fond of chocolates either. I know there’s a Diamond museum though, that’d be VERY dangerous :D Yeah, I figure it wouldn’t be a cheap trip but it’s our 10-year anniversary after all :D

  6. This is a really cool idea, Ruth. VERY cool. And there are so many movies you could feature in future entries.

    I’ve been to Belgium, but not Bruges. And like every other part of Europe that I visited, I loved it.

    • Why thank you John! Glad to hear you like this feature. Yes there are definitely a ton of movies worth exploring. Cool that you’ve been to Belgium! I’ve always been fascinated by Europe, there’s so much history and culture. Can’t wait to visit there again.

  7. Very nicely done Ruth. I look forward to more of this feature, it’s a such a great and original idea. I enjoyed the movie very much but I preferred The Guard (Sorry, I know you’re having trouble getting that one). That being said, In Bruges certainly does a great job of selling the city. I really want to visit there myself one day. I love the gothic nature to it.

    • Hey thanks Mark for taking the time to visit when you’re in the Hills :D Oh I probably would love The Guard too, if I could somehow find the darn thing! Yeah, the gothic nature is so striking and unique, I’m sure my hubby would have a field day taking sooo many pictures of Bruges!

  8. It’s because of this film I want to go there.

    Also reminded me, I need to rewatch this film. I forgot how many great funny moments there are!

  9. Brilliant post, Ruth! Love this new feature. Glad you liked this film. It’s absolutely gorgeous, no doubt. Apart from the cinematography, I’ve always wondered why the score by Carter Burwell didn’t get more notice as well.

    • Thanks Josh! I have to rewatch this and pay attention to the score. The headphone on the plane are just dreadful! I’m sure it’s lovely.

    • Ahah, I was surprised I wasn’t as ‘disturbed’ as I thought I’d be but I know what you mean. The city was a pleasant and welcome distraction indeed!

  10. Brudges looks lovely. I have a similar feature once, but I only put images in it. Movies with lovely places definitely a double pleasure. Like Midnight in Paris. Good feature, Ruth! I think this looks like a movie I’d like to see, though I don’t like Collin Farell that much

  11. What a gorgeous post! I’m so glad you liked it and the city of Bruges was indeed beautiful in the movie. I hope McDonagh will not be a one hit wonder with this, though Seven Psychopaths was very disappointing :(

    • Thanks! That means a lot coming from YOU. Too bad Seven Psychopaths disappointed you, I haven’t seen that yet. I’m curious to see his future work though, hopefully he’d pick another gorgeous city, too :)

    • Thanks Fernando, glad you like this feature. I really love the scenery in this movie but yeah, the script and performances were terrific. I’m glad I finally saw this film!

  12. I saw In Bruges this month. I didn’t connect with it as much as other bloggers have, but it certainly has a unique atmosphere and unique humor. For me, the most impressive part of the film was the beautiful city, which you’ve highlighted. I hope you get to see Bruges for real later this year :)

  13. I want to go to Belgium simply to visit Bruges! This is an awesome feature! I love this film, and I had high expectations for Seven Psychopaths because this. I wasn’t as fond of Psychopaths, but it takes nothing away from Bruges. It is one of my favorite films for all sorts of reasons!

    • Oh cool! I’m hoping to visit Bruges later this Fall. Glad you like this feature. I already have another film in mind somewhere in Europe.

      I heard from some people Seven Psychopaths just isn’t nearly as good though, bummer.

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