Inspired by the cinema release of the new UK comedy Swimming with Men, my newest film fan travel list introduces my five favourite "swimming pool films".
Through these "swimming pool films", you can go on a virtual journey to London, the remote Italian island of Pantelleria, small‐town America, the South of France and an ultra‐luxurious mansion in New York City… Which destination is your ideal choice for a dip and dive this summer?
Swimming with Men (2018) – filmed in London, UK
But just when Eric's mid‐life crisis is about to take off big time, he joins a men's amateur synchronised swimming team and finds new meaning in his life…
The film was inspired by the real‐life events surrounding a group of Swedish men who took part in synchronised swimming competitions. Based on their story, a Swedish film called Allt flyter (also known as The Swimsuit Issue) was released in 2008.
Swimming with Men was shot across London, including several swimming pools in the less touristyLondon boroughs of Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Croydon.
For more info on what to do in London, have a look at my London travel posts.
A Bigger Splash (2015) – filmed on the island of Pantelleria, Italy
In A Bigger Splash, famous rock star Marianne (Tilda Swinton) has just started to enjoy her well‐earned Italian summer vacation with her filmmaker boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts). But then, Marianne's old friend Harry (Ralph Fiennes) turns up for an unexpected visit and also brings along his promiscuous daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson).
Soon, there is trouble in paradise. For everyone involved…
In addition to this "fab four" cast of Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson, the fourth star of the movie is the remote Italian island of Pantelleria. Located between the bigger Italian island of Sicily and Tunisia in North Africa, Pantelleria showcases some really gorgeous scenes throughout the movie.
For more info about vacationing in Italy, check out my Italy travel posts.
The Lifeguard (2013) – filmed in Pennsylvania, USA
This time though, 29‐year‐old Leigh (Kristen Bell) faces a mid‐life crisis just before turning 30. Unhappy with her big city life in New York, she decides to quit her job as a reporter and move back in with her parents somewhere in rural Connecticut.
Here, Leigh reclaims her old student part‐time job as a lifeguard at the local swimming pool.
But when Leigh starts an age‐inappropriate affair with the teenage son of the swimming pool manager, it's not only about herself anymore. After all, her friend Mel (played by Meryl's Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer) is now the vice principal at the local High School…
Although set in Connecticut, the actual filming location of The Lifeguard was in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The small town Sewickley Valley was one of the filming locations here. At the beginning of the film, there are also some scenes that were shot in New York City.
Planning a film‐inspired trip to the USA? Check out my USA travel posts.
Swimming Pool (2003) – filmed in the South of France
The thriller Swimming Pool centres around Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) – a middle‐aged English mystery author from London, who has written a successful series of detective novels. When she faces a writer's block, her publisher John Bosload (Charles Dance) offers her to stay at his country house near Lacoste in the South of France.
At first, Sarah enjoys the peace and quiet at the French summer house. But then, a girl named Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) turns up, who claims to be Bosload's daughter.
Contrary to Sarah, teenager Julie leads a promiscuous lifestyle: She likes to party and has several one‐night stands with different men.
Initially annoyed by Julie, Sarah soon becomes more and more fascinated with Julie's carefree attitude to life, which eventually leads to a dangerous game somewhere between reality and Sarah's murder crime fiction…
While the early and final scenes in the film were shot in London, the filming location for the lush swimming pool scenes in France was the small village of Lacoste and the area around Luberon, Vaucluse, which is close to Aix‐en‐Provence and Marseille.
Like in many of his other films, French director François Ozon manages to blur the lines of reality and fiction in Swimming Pool to such an extent that the viewer doesn't know what is actually happening and what Sarah is inventing for her book.
Cruel Intentions (1999) – filmed in LA and New York City, USA
Cruel Intentions features just one scene that was shot in a swimming pool, but it's a decisive one. After all, womanizer Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) finally manages to get close to Annette (Reese Witherspoon), who had actually vowed to remain a virgin until she's married to the right man.
Previously, bored rich kid Sebastian Valmont has made a bet with his cruel step‐sister Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar): If he manages to sleep with Annette, the daughter of the headmaster at their school, before the end of summer break, he also gets to sleep with Katheryn – the only girl he can never have. If Kathryn wins, she gets Sebastian's most valued possession: his vintage 1959 Jaguar Roadster.
But as Sebastian plays his game with Annette, something totally unknown to him suddenly takes over control. He is falling in love…
Even though Cruel Intentions is set in New York City, a lot of scenes were filmed in or around Los Angeles. These include the swimming pool scene, which was shot in the Indoor Pool at the Biltmore Hotel (506 S. Grand Avenue) in Downtown Los Angeles.
The mansion that was used as the filming location for the outside of the massive Valmont Mansion can, however, be found in central New York. In reality, it is the Ukranian Cultural Center (Fifth Avenue, Manhattan), which is located almost opposite from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York's famous Central Park.
For tips on what to do in New York City, check out my New York travel posts.