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Bennet Schaber

Director of Cinema and Screen Studies

319 Marano Campus Center

Office hours

Tuesday 12:00 - 3:00 pm
or by appointment

Classes taught

Fall 2016 Courses

ENG 286/800



322 Marano CC
175 Shineman

ENG 386/800



306 Marano CC
315 Park Hall

ENG 488



211 Marano CC

ENG 286/800-An introduction to the history and theory of cinema for first-year majors only.  Three take-home exams and two or three group film projects required. Texts:  1.  Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener, Film Theory:  An Introduction Through The Senses (Routledge) 9780415801010.   2.  Tomothy Corrigan and Patricia White, The Film Experience 978-1-4576-8581-1

ENG 386/800-A direct engagement with some fragments of the major theories of film from the 1930’s to the present.  These primary documents will mediate an extended discussion of what cinema has been (or perhaps might have been), what it is (or perhaps might be), and what it is becoming (or perhaps might be becoming).   But we don’t only have to think about the cinema; sometimes the cinema encourages us to think about other things, many other things, as well.  Three take-home exams.  Required texts:  Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White, Critical Visions in Film Theory (2011); Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener, Film Theory (2010).

ENG 488/800-In 1948 the filmmaker and critic Alexander Astruc published in L'Écran française (French Screen) a short article, "Du Stylo à la caméra et de la caméra au stylo," (“From the Pen to the Camera and from the Camera to the Pen”) which has since come to be known as “The Birth of a New Avant-Garde:  The Camera-Pen.”  In this brief essay, which we will read (in English!!), Astruc, a visionary who actually predicted Youtube, asked his readers to imagine a cinema in which independent directors would be the equivalents of the authors of novels, responsible for their own films from start to finish.  He thus gave birth to what today we call auteurism, the notion that a filmmaker is principally the source of and responsible for her own film.  Since then, Astruc’s idea has been developed and contested in nearly innumerable ways.

This course will be an examination of the filmmaker as ‘author’.  And we will do this in three ways.  First, we will read a series of essays examining the meaning, function and status of authorship (who or what is actually responsible for a film, a style, a genre, etc?).  Second, we will watch a series of films that very precisely examine what it means to be, what it really feels like, to be a filmmaker, from Welles’ Lady from Shanghai to Korine’s Mr. Lonely to Varda’s Beaches of Agnès).  Third, each of you will create two video essays examining the work of an auteur near and dear to your heart:  Wes Anderson, Oscar Michaux, Ida Lupino, Sam Fuller, Lizzie Borden, Innarittu, Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, whoever…).