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Paradise Glossed: The Representation of Backpacker Ideals in The Beach


Blackwood, G, Paradise Glossed: The Representation of Backpacker Ideals in The Beach, Motion Pictures: Travel Ideals in Film, Peter Lang AG, G Blackwood, A McGregor (ed), Bern, pp. 135-150. ISBN 9783034323079 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern

DOI: doi:10.3726/978-3-0351-0951-1


There is a scene near the end of the 20th Century Fox film The Beach (Danny Boyle, 2000) – based on British author Alex Garland’s bestseller about backpackers in Southeast Asia – that highlights the fraught real-life politics between millenial Western tourists and local residents in Thailand. This movie, filmed with a budget of $US fifty million and produced by British company Figment Films, pivots its story around a young American called Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is searching for authentic travel experiences in the East.3 While in Bangkok, a suicidal Scottish backpacker bequeaths Richard a map leading the way to a perfect, unspoiled beach on an isolated island near Phuket. With the aid of a young French couple, Richard locates the island, where the trio discover a virtually self-sufficient Western backpacker community. Over time a series of events – shark attack, the ongoing threat of tourist discovery, infidelity, murder – takes the pleasure out of this supposedly idyllic paradise and Richard is quickly alienated from the ideal backpacking community.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:film tourism, media tourism, representations of tourism, backpacker tourism, film studies, film cultures
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Screen and digital media
Research Field:Screen media
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Visual communication
UTAS Author:Blackwood, G (Dr Gemma Blackwood)
ID Code:135876
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Media
Deposited On:2019-11-19
Last Modified:2022-08-26

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