The Persistence of Cinematic Memory

Shelly Isaacs
Movies / Storytelling

Course Description

Four Contemporary European films that reflect on life under Soviet rule and its aftermath. Stories of betrayal, collaboration, resistance and transformation.


  1. The Lives of Others: Germany - In East Germany, a high-ranking Secret Police Investigator follows the life of a playwright whose loyalty is in question. A tale of redemption, salvation and transformation.
  2. Kawasaki's Rose: Czech Republic - In the present-day Czech Republic, a renowned psychiatrist is being awarded its highest honor. With new facts arising, questioning his past, his family must come to terms with the truth.
  3. Strike: Poland - In this ballad inspired by true events, Agnieska Kowalska, an illiterate single mother and crane operator, inspires the largest labor strike in world history, giving rise to Solidarity and the fall of Communism.
  4. The Teacher: Slovakia - In 1983, Bratislava, a teacher and well connected party member, uses her power to manipulate both students and parents, until things go too far, and the parents have to decide whether to do what they believe or remain silent.

About the Instructor

  • Shelly Isaacs is the founder and host for Cafe Cinematheque, where he shares his passion for film in venues throughout South Florida. Isaacs was a creative director/writer/producer and director in advertising, specializing in film, TV and radio promotion. He holds an MA in Media Ecology Studies from New York University, where he also taught graduate level courses in cultural studies. In 2009 he launched Cinematheque at Sea, making his program available on luxury cruises throughout the world.