A small catalogue of maps, globes, and other cartographic objects and how they are used within film.
Maps in film contexts typically convey familiar narrative themes of power, [dis]information, identity, and are sometimes specifically called out by protagonists or in the way they are shot in a scene as being central to the plot. This is my small appeciation for how maps as a tool are represented in cinema and conveyed to the public.
Suggestions/submissions are welcome and encouraged!!
  • Archive
  • Theme
  • Colossus: The Forbin Project [1970]

    A ‘what if’ movie dedicated to the premise of a computer enslaving humanity.  Maps in this film have strong associations to power, imminent threat, quickly-devolving crisis situations, and secrecy.

    To call out a few examples, the only close-up of a map in the film and where it is the only thing filling the screen, occurs during the first nuclear missile launch, a clear indication of crisis.  Notice also the shot of both central protagonists, Forbin [l] and the US President [r] both going out of the central polar axis in the background.  Conveniently makes a target/crosshair to which both they and the whole world will be placed in the middle of later, by Colossus, the ‘evil’ computer.  The direct association with power by placing map behind Presidential Seal is clear; this scene directly involves public awareness, however this in only in the context of information being ‘revealed’ by the express authority of the President [he literally pushes the button on camera opening projection doors in this and one other scene, to reveal missile command or ‘the war room’ to a surprised Forbin].  Also note: complete lack of southern hemisphere as a realm of importance, due mainly to the polar/arctic map projection being used, probably Azimuthal Equidistant or Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area.