The Art of Early Cinema: Seeing and Storytelling | Newberry

The Art of Early Cinema: Seeing and Storytelling

Led by Steven J. Venturino
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Four sessions. Tuesdays, March 1-March 22



Newberry Adult Education Seminars will meet both virtually and in the building for the Winter/Spring term. Although we are still primarily virtual, you will find a smaller selection of in-person seminars in the schedule. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. If you have questions about online learning, please reach out to Registration opens Wednesday, January 19th at 9am (Central time). Registration will take place through our online platform, Learning Stream.

Register via Learning Stream here

Seminar Description

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 von Sternberg, along with an international selection of short films and film clips.

Four sessions. Registration – $195/$175

Steven J. Venturino, PhD, is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. He has led seminars at the Newberry and taught at Loyola University Chicago.

Materials List


  • There will be films assigned to watch in advance of the seminar.

First Reading:

  • In advance of the first session, please watch City Lights (Chaplin 1931), available on DVD or streaming at Amazon Prime and HBO Max.

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration Information

Registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Wednesday, January 19th . Newberry Associates members at the Literati level and above will have access to early registration beginning January 12th at 10am. Learn more about membership benefits and becoming a Newberry Associate.

Please note: The Newberry uses Learning Stream for all Adult Education Seminar registrations. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.