We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Click here for more information.

Image of the Day. Josef von Sternberg's "Anatahan" Chart

The great director's final film is flow charted to visualize the dramatic progress in the narrative.
David Phelps

Director Josef von Sternberg's "chart" of emotional modalities (click to enlarge) for filming The Saga of Anatahan (1953) in Japan:

Compare to Sergei Eistenstein's "chart" for filming Alexander Nevsky (1938):

And to Dziga Vertov's breakdown of a film (see more here):

"Sternberg and his crew also created amazingly detailed flow charts and storyboards to visualize the dramatic progress in the narrative. In the flow chart titled "Anatahan Chart," different colors [missing from this image -Ed] specify different feelings (jealous, nostalgia, etc.) and actions (violence, surrender, etc.) of each character in each sequence. The intensity of each color specifies the intensity of emotion or action, and lines are drawn to clarify how these emotions or actions of characters interact... Instead of using verbal languages to make the cast undestand his idea, Sternberg chose to largely depend on the visual aids to articulate how meanings of actions in each sequence constitutes a psychological and dramatic flow..."

—Sachiko Mizuno, "The Saga of Anatahan and Japan

The Saga of Anatahan plays tonight in Anthology Film Archive's series "Auteurs Gone Wild."


Josef von SternbergSergei EisensteinDziga Vertov
Please sign up to add a new comment.


Notebook is a daily, international film publication. Our mission is to guide film lovers searching, lost or adrift in an overwhelming sea of content. We offer text, images, sounds and video as critical maps, passways and illuminations to the worlds of contemporary and classic film. Notebook is a MUBI publication.


If you're interested in contributing to Notebook, please see our pitching guidelines. For all other inquiries, contact the editorial team.