The Art of Early Cinema: Seeing and Storytelling

Registration is now closed. A Newberry Library Adult Education Seminar.

This seminar offers a lively overview of cinema styles from the 1890s to 1931. By exploring examples of comedy, drama, suspense, and Expressionism, and through discussion of early film criticism, we will develop new ways of seeing the moving image and understanding narrative art. Sessions will focus on feature-length works by Chaplin, Weber, Murnau, and others, along with a selection of short films and clips from films by Ozu, Micheaux, Dreyer, Dovzhenko, Griffith, Sternberg, Guy-Blaché, and many others.

Four sessions via Zoom. Tuesdays, March 1-March 22
Registration information here.

For the first session, please watch Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931).

Materials List

No required books. Film clips, brief reading materials, and web links will be made available to seminar participants.

Schedule (feature films)

Week 1
City Lights (Chaplin 1931)

Week 2
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene 1920)
Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein 1925)

Week 3
Metropolis (Lang 1927)
Shoes (Weber 1916)

Week 4
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer 1928)
Sunrise (Murnau 1927)

Image: George O’Brien and Margaret Livingston in F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise (1927).