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NNarrative Competition

Return to Ithaca

Return to Ithaca

Original Title: Retour à Ithaque
Director: Laurent Cantet
France | Spanish
2014 | 95min.
Subtitles: Arabic and English
Format: DCP
Theme: A
12+
Lifelong friends reunite in Havana when one of them returns to Cuba after spending 16 years in Spain, forcing all of them to take stock of their lives in this intimate, politically tinged drama. The film’s title refers to Homer’s Odyssey, but the vibe is more Big Chill as the five pals recall their happy youth before life dealt them its body blows. The artist Rafa (Fernando Hechevarría) no longer paints. Ophthalmologist Tania (Isabel Santos) barely scrapes by on scant wages. The party’s host Aldo (Pedro Julio Díaz Ferran) used to be an engineer; now his hands are scarred from working in a battery factory. Accountant Eddy (Jorge Perugorría) has cash and the latest consumer gadgets, but has lost his way. None can understand why Amadeo (Néstor Jiménez) has come back now or why he wants to stay. Though set primarily in one location, Return to Ithaca never feels stage bound, thanks to cinematographer Diego Dussuel’s roving camera and Cantet’s occasional shifting of focus away from his characters to the activities of Aldo’s neighbors or the traffic along the harbor. What unfolds in this drama that has its roots in coscreenwriter Leonardo Paduro’s novel The Palm Tree and the Star and the reminiscences of its characters is a haunting, deeply sympathetic evocation of middle-aged disappointment and disillusionment. —Pam Grady

Director,  Laurent Cantet

Director,  Laurent Cantet

Laurent Cantet won a César for Best First Work and a European Film Award for European Discovery of the Year for his debut feature Human Resources (1999). His fourth feature The Class (2008) captured the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and received a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination. In recent years, the French director has become a truly international filmmaker, making the English-language Foxfire (2012) in Canada and a segment of the Spanish-language omnibus film 7 Days in Havana (2012) and Return to Ithaca in Cuba.

Cast and Crew

Director
Laurent Cantet
Cast
Jorge Perugorría, Pedro Julio Díaz Ferran, Fernando Hechevarría, Alberto Pujols, Isabel Santos
Production Company
Borsalino Productions, La Compagnie Cinématographique, Full House
Sales Contact
Funny Balloons
Producer
Didar Domehri, Laurent Baudens, Gaël Nouaille
Screenwriter
Leonardo Padura, Laurent Cantet
Editor
Robin Campillo
Cinematographer
Diego Dussuel
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