We quite often watch films, series, sitcoms, or any other cinematography. People love interesting stories, thrilling plots, and beautiful motion-picture. Moreover, we like science, fiction, or fantasy, and these genres enhance our imagination and let us believe in something supernatural. However, we don’t even realize that magical scenes can be filmed in places that we visit every day. In this article, let’s review movies that were filmed in small and beautiful Slovenia.
Movies that you probably didn’t know were shot in Slovenia are the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Jackie Chan’s Armour of God, Captain America, Death Train, Slovenian Girl (A Call Girl), Dear My Friends, A Patriotic Man, Red Tails and some others.
Movie Culture in Slovenia
Filming culture in Slovenia was decently developing since the 80s of the previous century. At that time, it became more liberal after the death of Tito and allowed existing art of any kind. For example, The Ljubljana LGBT Film Festival was launched in 1984. It was the first annual international LGBT film festival in socialistic states that covered nonheterosexual and non-cisgender topics in their showcases. Moreover, it was the oldest film festival of its sort in Europe as well as the older international film festival in Slovenia.
The original places of the festival in Ljubljana are the ŠKUC Gallery, KinoŠkuc, The Ljubljana Faculty of Arts, and Disko FV. Now, they vary year from year. The festival was banned only once, in 1987, because local authorities were afraid of the festival’s influence on the spread of AIDS disease. In 1997, all the films started to be translated into Slovenian.
Since 2013, all the best films of the festival get prizes from the jury and from the audience. The highest award of the Ljubljana LGBT Film Festival is the Pink Dragon Jury Award and Pink Dragon Audience Award, named in honor of the main symbol of the capital of Slovenia, the dragon of Ljubljana.
The Ljubljana International Film Festival was the second such one established in Slovenia. The fest is also known as LIFFe. It is an annual event that provides several prestigious awards for the best films. For instance, the Kingfisher Award or the Golden Reel Award. In 1998, the festival gave birth to Ljubljana Documentary Film Festival, the competitive festival for documentary films.
The Grossmann Fantastic Film and Wine Festival is a feast of a new type, specializing in horror and fantasy. Annually, it’s bringing to Slovenians not only the art of cinema but super tasty flavors of food and wine as well. The festival takes place in the town of Ljutomer during mid-July. It is a cozy film festival, it is full of movies acting workshops, book presentations, and wine tastings. As it focuses on horror movies, the ending of Zombie Walk is the perfect finish point for this. The event is proclaimed as an act when horror officials leave Slovenia and promise to return only when the next festival begins.
Filofest is an international student film festival. It takes place in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, since 2006, every two years. It includes student video projects, documentaries, and films as well as lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, and social gatherings. Moreover, the festival accepts fiction, animated and experimental films, and music videos as well.
As you can see, movie creation culture is highly developed in Slovenia. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that even a lot of Hollywood blockbusters were filmed in Slovenia. The country has the most beautiful natural landmarks in the region, professional video makers, and cameramen. This place is full of creative atmosphere. In order to prove this, here are some movies that you probably didn’t know were shot in Slovenia:
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
It is the second in the series of films based on the novel with a similar name written by C. S. Lewis. Original epic fantasy series consisted of seven novels, whereas the director, Andrew Adamson, created only three movies based on this story. I think most people know the general idea of the novel. Narnia is the hidden fantasy world discovered by several children in their wardrobe. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian continues the original story, using beautiful Slovenian nature as the magic locations of Narnia.
The location is well-known in Slovenia Soča valley, a place where the Soča River starts. It is one of the most beautiful natural tourist attractions of Slovenia. The river turns emerald green in its color, that’s very rare for such a long river to have this unique color throughout its length. The second location of the film is Bovec Town, the very first town under the Triglav mountain.
The surrounding areas are full of natural landscape pearls, such as the Boka Waterfall, with the highest water flow in Slovenia that reaches 144 m of height, The Trenta Valley, which is the heart of the Triglav National Park, and Lake Krn, that is the largest high-elevation mountain lake in the country.
Armour of God
This is one of the most famous movies that were written, directed, and starred by Jackie Chan. Of course, as a usual film with Jackie, this one features kung fu, comedy, stunts, but with a distinctive Indiana Jones-style theme. Thus, it was shot in Brežice Castle, Predjama Castle & Predjama Cave, the perfect places for “tomb raider” adventurous scenes.
The plot tells a story about an ex-singer whose ex-girlfriend was kidnapped by an evil cult in Europe. Therefore, the fiancé of the main character as well as his old friend agreed to help Jackie with finding a mysterious treasure and rescuing the girl in the temple of a shadowy organization of monks.
Slovenia is full of castles, that’s why it became a perfect place for this film. They mixed the feeling of danger with the indigenous style of the interior. Furthermore, the country is well-known for its karst caves. Some of them include endemic species of animals and even underground rivers.
Armour of God became the highest-grossing film in Hong Kong at the time. On the other hand, it was the most dangerous shooting for Jackie Chan. During one of the relatively routine stunts, he leaped onto a tree from a ledge and fell from that tree, cracking his skull. The movie was filmed in 1986, during Yugoslavia’s existence.
Captain America (1990 Film)
Yes, once upon a time, the superhero from Marvel comics appeared even in Slovenia. The film gathered not the best reviews from critics, but most of the superheroes from that time did not do well. On the other side, it was one of the first tries to tell a story of the patriotic American Soldier who became a super soldier because of human experiments. The project got the name “Captain America” and soon was forgotten until one day, a Nazi organization “Red Skull” kidnapped the President of the United States. The movie was released in 1990, on the fiftieth anniversary of Captain America.
The part of the movie was filmed in Pokljuka, the village in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia, as well as the forested karst plateau, famous for being loved by mountain hikers and forest adventurers. Pokjuka is a part of Triglav National Park, thus this place is not so far from the location where the Chronicles of Narnia were filmed.
This Hollywood movie stars Patrick Stewart and Christopher Lee. The first one is famous for his role as Professor Charles Xavier in all the X-Men films, whereas the second one is well-known for Star Wars, Hobbit, and the original Dracula movie.
The film tells a story about a hijacked goods train. The train is stolen, and there is a nuclear bomb inside. The main character is trying to prevent the catastrophe.
The movies have been filmed on Bohinjska Bistrica, the largest settlement near the incredible Bohinj lake, one of the most visited tourist attractions of Slovenia. The peculiarity of this lake is the fact that it is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia. The lake is part of Triglav National Park, the only national park in Slovenia. Lake Bohinj is located in the northwestern Upper Carniola region, on the west of the country. Also, this is a glacial lake dammed by a moraine. This means that it is a relic of melted ice-filled in the depressions created by the glacier. The water there is so clear that it became a place of living for numerous rare species of fish.
Slovenian Girl (A Call Girl)
This is the Slovenian movie that was shown in cinemas of 30 countries, including the United States, where it was released under the name “A Call Girl”. It was firstly premiered at the 2009 Sarajevo Film Festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina and after that, was screened at more than 70 international festivals, including Toronto International Film Festival, London Raindance, Montreal, Warsaw, Valencia, São Paulo, Cairo, Thessaloniki, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Chicago, New York, Edinburgh, Paris, and some others.
Moreover, the movie got fine awards in Spain, three awards in France, and the European Film Academy selected it as the best European film of 2010.
The film tells the story of a Slovenian girl from a small town who is studying the English language at a university in Ljubljana. Her parents are divorced, and the girl rarely sees her mother. Nobody knows that she works as a call girl in her free time. Also, she is manipulating everyone around and even stealing things.
Critics proclaimed the film as “A fascinating study of free enterprise in free fall and a new style of narrative to convey a view of capitalist culture at once outrageous and non-judgmental.”
Dear My Friends
This is a South Korean sitcom. Impressively, but it was filmed in Slovenia and Croatia. There was only one season of it, released in 2016. It consisted of 16 episodes. The plot is very twisty; it includes drama, dementia, cancer, love, parents/children relationships, friends traitors, and so on. Moreover, it got really high reviews from critics as well as the audience.
The series was shot in Piran. It is the heart of Slovene Riviera, the part of the country that borders the Adriatic Sea. Slovenia has 47 kilometers of coastline, and Piran is the biggest city in this region. Here you can find not only beaches and water but the beautiful architecture and the feeling of old Europe. Piran is well-known for its romantic views of the Venetian and Austrian architecture in the old town of the city as well as the famous edge of a narrow peninsula straightly jumping in the sea.
A Patriotic Man
This is quite an unusual Finnish movie that was released not too much ago, in 2013. It doesn’t star any Hollywood actors, but it’s worth watching as well. The story is about a Finnish man, Toivo, who discovered the incredible ability of his own blood: It improves an athlete’s performance, forcing the skiers to succeed. As he was unemployed, he joined the Finnish national ski team in order to be their “human blood-tank” of endless power. The movie is on the edge of seriousness and dark comedy.
In Slovenia, the location of some scenes was Lake Bled. One of the most well-known tourist destinations. It is located in northwestern Slovenia, near the town with the same name, Bled. If you ever google Slovenia, most probably you saw it with its tiny island situated in the middle of the lake. It is the most picturesque place in Slovenia, furthermore surrounded by mountains and forests. It’s quite big. The surface area is 1.45 km2. The lake has a mixed, glacial, and tectonic origin.
This is one more Hollywood movie. The perfect way to describe it is “old-style war movie”. It is unusual that 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm decided to take such a topic. The story is about a young African American who was sent to Italy to fight over the Adriatic Sea in 1944-1945. The film raises the problem of racism of those times as well as provides fascinating air combat scenes.
The movie shows a part of Slovene Riviera, located on the Gulf of Trieste, by the Adriatic Sea. The Slovenian coastline is part of the Istrian peninsula and is only 46.6 km long. Slovene Riviera is located in Slovene Istria, the most southwestern part of the country, and in the historical region of the Slovene Littoral. Also, it belongs to the Coastal–Karst Statistical Region, which has a unique feature of mixing marine and mountain landscapes, fauna and flora, culture, weather, and so on.
As we could see, Slovenian landscapes are suitable not only for tourism but for filming as well. Slovenian movie culture started to develop in the 1980s. The post-Yugoslav state became the very first place of international film locations on the territory of former socialism. Therefore, film production has leveled up tremendously since then. Secondly, Slovenia was ruled by the most liberal government among all other Yugoslav republics, thus even the LGBT film festival was allowed then.
Therefore, Slovenians are highly creative and open-minded. On the other side, Slovenia has too adorable nature to avoid showing it in films. Here you can observe the rare mix of mountainous and marine nature. There is even a part where the forest is standing on the ledge of a rocky cliff over the sea.
The culture here has the same features. If in Ljubljana, you can experience a truly Slovenian style of living, Slovene Riviera is the place where Slavic and Mediterranean cultures created a strange mix of its own indigenous feeling. At least once in life, you should try seafood with schnapps, finishing with a traditional Slovenian dessert, potica, sitting at the water but looking at forested cliffs on the opposite side.