This animated short looks at the building of Canada's transcontinental railroad with wit and whimsy. Engine 371 illustrates the struggle humans have with nature and how this fundamental tension united a country. A film without words.
This is a short documentary about winter railroading in the Canadian Rockies and the men who keep the lines clear. The stretch between Revelstoke and Field, British Columbia, is a snow-choked threat to communications. The film shows the work of section hands, maintenance men, train crews and telegraph operators.
This short documentary from the Canada Carries On series celebrates the contribution of Canada’s railroads to the war effort. The film includes a sequence from Buster Keaton's 1926 silent comedy The General, as well as a re-enactment of Lord Strathcona driving the final spike into the Canadian Pacific Railway Line.
This short documentary is a delightful trip back to an era in which railroad was king. The small community of Melville, Saskatchewan, is a railroad town. Long-time CBC host Fred Davis visits with various railway workers and learns about the operation of one of the vital service stations which keep the Canadian National Railway running smoothly.
This short film from director Gerald Potterton (Heavy Metal) stars Buster Keaton in one of the last films of his long career. As "the railrodder", Keaton crosses Canada from east to west on a railway track speeder. True to Keaton's genre, the film is full of sight gags as our protagonist putt-putts his way to British Columbia. Not a word is spoken throughout, and Keaton is as spry and ingenious at fetching laughs as he was in the old days of the silent slapsticks.
For more background information about this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
This documentary short offers a nostalgic look at the steam locomotive as it passes from reality to history. In its heyday, the big smoke-belching steam engine seemed immortal. Now, powerful and efficient diesels are pushing the old coal-burning locomotives to the sidelines, and the lonely echo of their whistles may soon be a thing of the past.
This animated short by Norman McLaren features synchronization of image and sound in the truest sense of the word. To make this film, McLaren employed novel optical techniques to compose the piano rhythms of the sound track, which he then moved, in multicolor, onto the picture area of the screen so that, in effect, you see what you hear.
Ride the commuter train with this animated short that questions what goes on it the hearts of minds of the train's silent passengers. Filmmakers Lewis Trondheim and Jean Matthieu Tanguy take a common, humdrum experience and turn it into a captivating journey tinged with some delicious, deadpan humour.This film is part of the Comic Strip Chronicles, a collection of shorts celebrating the strong affinity between comic strips and animated film. Inspired by moments of everyday life, these films showcase the playful imaginations of renowned artists Guy Delisle, Zviane, Aude Picault, Lewis Trondheim, and Jean Matthieu Tanguy. Produced by the NFB, Canal+, and Sacrebleu.
The NFB's 22nd Oscar®-nominated film.
This animated short proposes what many earthlings have long feared – that the automobile has inherited the planet. When life on Earth is portrayed as one long, unending conga-line of cars, a crew of extra-terrestrial visitors understandably assume they are the dominant race. While humans, on the other hand, are merely parasites. An Oscar® nominee, this film serves as an entertaining case study.
Ages 13 to 17
Study Guide - Guide 1
History and Citizenship Education - Economy and Development (1500-present)
History and Citizenship Education - Industrialization (1800s)
Media Education - Film Animation
Technology Education - Society and Technology
Have students discuss how the dream of a transnational railway became, over time, a conduit for power and unmitigated growth. How does the film convey this sense of loss of control? Was there anything the collector could have done? What does this say about our own individual responsibilities? The collector simply wants to create a model train set. Can the impact of our individual aspirations be set apart from the world at large?