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

Every few months, The Basement Geographer brings you an assemblage of short films from around the Internet featuring geography and landscape in a prominent manner.  For the previous instalments of films, click here and here.

A Newfoundland Language Lesson

A humorous look at the complex world of language in Newfoundland featuring prominent Canadian comedian Mark Critch and prominent travel blogger Candice Walsh.

Annapurna Elevation

Breathtaking shots of Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area.  The Annapurna massif itself is infamous in the mountaineering community for its incredibly high fatality-to-climber ratio of 38% since 1970.


An Australian short in which a group of artists pontificate on how geography influences their art.

Evolution: ‘The Mind’s Big Bang’

This seven-minute clip from the PBS documentary series Evolution narrated by Liam Neeson gives a brief look into one of the most interesting linguistic developments of the past half-century, Nicaraguan Sign Language (Idioma de Señas de Nicaragua, or ISN for short.  ISN is of great scholastic interest because it was not formally developed or derived another language but generated spontaneously during the late 1970s and early 1980s by the signers themselves; young deaf children brought to a special education centre in Managua.  Not only did the amalgam of home signs and hand gestures employed by the children eventually develop into a full-fledged complex language, but ISN eventually became the major language of deaf instruction in the country.

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull – May 1st and 2nd, 2010

A stunning timelapse of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano near the end of its spring 2010 eruption.  With the most violent portion of the eruption having passed by the time this film was shot, the unmistakable beauty of the landscape can be appreciated.

Our Bus

This film documenting one of the longest daily school bus commutes in Canada is doubly interesting for me to watch because the school in question is my old high school.  And I know the filmmaker.  And I grew up across the street from the bus driver.  Regardless of all that, it’s a fun little peek inside of the little subculture that has developed amongst these students (or as us uptowners knew them as way back when, the ‘down-the-lakers’), some of who spend nearly four hours every single day inside of a bus in rural British Columbia.

Our Bus from joanneroryon Vimeo.

President for Life

Remember Saparmurat Niyazov, the late dictator of Turkmenistan who ruled over one of the most bizarre cults of personality in history?  Here’s a look back to 2005 and a 23-minute ABC Australia piece on how truly eccentric, brutal, and dangerous the man was.

While things might be different now that Niyazov is gone and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow is in power, a look at state television’s rather slanted election coverage reveals that one cult of personality has simply been swapped for a slightly less pervasive one:

Adolf Hitler Furious at ESRI Software

Like most of you, I thought all of those Downfall mash-ups on YouTube were pretty funny for about the first week and then got tired of them once they started numbering in the thousands.  This one, however, I couldn’t resist linking to.  If you’ve ever worked in GIS, you’ll probably find this pretty funny, and even if you haven’t, it’s probably still worth a watch.

Embedding disabled by request; watch here.

The Race for the Poles (part 1) (part 2)

Finally, a feature-length film for you: the epic story of the explorers who quested to become the first to reach the North and South poles.  Produced by the Discovery channel some years back, it’s a great insight into the perils of polar travel, competition in the extreme, and the controversial behaviour and claims of Robert Peary, the man long credited by most as being the man who first reached the North Pole, and Frederick Cook, the man who claimed to have reached the Pole a whole year before Peary.  Naturally, the Roald Amundsen/Robert Scott race to the South Pole also features prominently.  A very enthralling two hours.

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