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Inside the 2011 Cannes Film Festival Day 4: Liza Johnson’s Return

It was the world premiere night in the Directors’ Fortnight section for Liza Johnson and her debut feature film, Return. Starring Michel Shannon in a minor supporting role and focusing on Linda Cardellini in what could be her ticket to a more interesting array of indie parts, this isn’t a major mood-swinging piece and comparatively its a tame when compared to the dozen others and is obviously the point — Johnson spins this without any cliches, something that appeared co-joined to the hip in this dramatic sub-genre.

Home from her deployment, Cardellini’s mother/wife character just doesn’t fit anymore, she doesn’t know why but what she does know is that others had it worse — you get a sense that Return was researched and elements were drawn into the possible backstory of the character, so this isn’t dependent on addiction-like stupors to fill the character description, but rather, visuals of the environment, a rural, mainland America coats and underlines her aimlessness. Here is world premiere night presentation and post-screening footage.


Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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