Program Details

Villains and Victims:  The Anatomy of a Thriller

Shelly Isaacs
Movies / History
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Throughout the history of cinema, thrillers have played a vital role toward entertaining and exciting audiences. Many of today’s directors worldwide have been influenced by the masters of suspenseful thrillers, especially the likes of Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock. This session we will look at six recent award-winning international thrillers and how they reflect individual cultures while utilizing cinematic techniques that keep us in suspense until the very end.


  1. A Wednesday: India - A retiring police officer reminisces about the most astounding day of his career. About a case that was never filed but continues to haunt him in his memories. The case of a man, a threatened city, and what began as an ordinary Wednesday.
  2. The Beat My Heart Skipped: France - A conflicted young man following his father into a world of crime is pulled by a passion to become a concert pianist and pursue a better life.
  3. A Hijacking: Denmark - A cargo ship in the Indian Ocean is hijacked by Somali pirates. A psychological drama of life and death ensues between the CEO of the shipping company and the pirates’ demand for millions of dollars.
  4. Caché: France - In a thriller that explores the escalating examination of contemporary paranoia and pervasive surveillance, a TV personality, and his wife receive threatening videotapes in the post of their modern townhouse.
  5. Pink: India - When three young women are implicated in a crime, a retired lawyer takes their case, challenging a society that wrongly victimizes women while protecting the true villains.
  6. Balloon: Germany - East Germany, 1979. After initially failing to flee from the East to the West in a self-built hot-air balloon, two families struggle to make a second attempt while the East German State Police are chasing them.

About the Instructor

  • Shelly Isaacs, M.A. is the founder and host for Café Cinematheque International, sharing his passion for foreign language film in venues throughout South Florida. As a creative director/writer/producer and director in advertising, Isaacs specialized in film, T.V., and radio promotions. Issacs earned a master's degree in media ecology studies from New York University, where he taught graduate-level courses in cultural studies, emphasizing film. In 2009 he launched Cinematheque at Sea, making his program available on luxury cruises throughout the world.

Upcoming programs presented by Shelly Isaacs.

TypeNumberInstructorCourse TitleAdd to Cart
8wk F184 Shelly Isaacs Visions of Eight: Contemporary Women Directors 
Mons., October 11, 18, 25; November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29: 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm