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Continuing Education Course Catalog > Arts & Culture

Director Series: Light and Shadow: The Films of Josef von Sternberg  

Travel back to Classic Hollywood with facilitator George Watt as you explore the films of Josef von Sternberg! Revered and reviled in his own time, Sternberg is notable for a series of films in which he directed Marlene Dietrich and is renowned for his lighting, mise en scene, staging, and costume design. Sternberg's surviving silent films are remarkable examples of the silent art form, and his gangster film during this period launched the gangster film cycle of the following decade.

Students will view six of Josef von Sternberg's films throughout the class and learn how to evaluate, analyze, and synthesize each film. Additionally, students will discuss how the various elements of each film - lighting, camera work, composition, sound, costume, etc. - work together to create meaning and examine cultural influences, including race, ethnicity and gender roles.

Film titles are available on the Internet, via YouTube, or from streaming services, such as Amazon Prime. Some titles are available on DVD from public libraries, from rental services such as Netflix, or may be purchased on DVD or Blu-ray.