A Collection of Geography-Related Films and Shorts, Part I

Beginning with this post, every so oftenThe Basement Geographer will bring you an assemblage of short films from around the Internet featuring geography and landscape in a prominent manner.
A lonely desk toy longs for escape from the dark confines of the office, so he takes a cross country road trip to the Pacific Coast in the only way he can – using a toy car and Google Maps Street View.

Address Is Approximate from The Theory on Vimeo.

Time-shift photography is an amazingly effective way to turn almost any landscape into a miniature scene.  In this short, watch how filmmaker Joerg Daiber applies this effect to numerous scenic views of the isle of Crete.

Cute Creta from joerg daiber on

This National Film Board of Canada short from 1964 tells the story of the man responsible for charting much of northwestern North America and who became the first person to navigate the entire length of the Columbia River.

A rather-depressing, yet well made, tale about a Montrealer and his wife who head to the Palliser Triangle area of Saskatchewan to take up wheat farming in the first decade of the 20th century.  Over the next thirty years, we follow the Greers as they build a family and a way of life only to see everything they worked for ravaged by drought and the Great Depression.

This mood piece captures glances of a day in the life of an imagined city, with various images juxtaposed and blending in and out of one another.

This short teaches us that maybe our satnavs are leading us in the proper direction after all.  This was the 2010 Grand Prize winner at the MOFILM Awards in Barcelona.

Got 86 minutes?  This, of course, is hardly a short, but I was so surprised to find an embeddable version that I had to post it.  One of my
all-time favourite films, Koyaanisqatsi is Godfrey Reggio’s 1982 arthouse classic backed by the music of Philip Glass.  The entire film is an assemblage of mesmerising slow-motion and time-lapse images of US landscapes: the Grand Canyon; the Chicago skyline; the New York Subway; Hopi cave drawings; California freeways; the Pruitt-Igoe projects of St. Louis.  It helps to be in a certain mood to watch it all the way through (and patient), but once you are immersed, it’s a cinematic experience that’s hard to match (the two sequels to the film don’t quite measure up to the brilliant original).

This 13-minute film contains stunning colour footage from the 1939-1940 World’s Fair in New York, the largest international event of its time.  Sixty countries attended the exposition, during which World War II broke out.  Many of the countries which had expositions at the fair were overrun by the Axis during this time, leaving many of their staff stranded in the United States.

A man decided to build a city from scratch for the woman he loves.  But why?

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