Return to Ithaca (2014): Laurent Cantet (Time Out, The Class) Weakest Film

One of the few middling films in the otherwise distinguished career of French director Laurent Cantet (Time Out, The Class), Return to Ithaca is a self-indulgent talk-fest feature, whose participants never allow the viewers to get involved in their past memories or present situations.

Return to Ithaca
Retour à Ithaque.jpg

Theatrical release poster

Cantet, a prime festival director unveiled his film at the 2014 Venice Film Fest, where it won the sidebar Venice Days Award.

Thematically, the film belongs to the subgenre of reunion movies, prime among which are John Sayles’ The Return of the Secaucus Seven and Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill.

Five friends reunite on a rooftop terrace in Havana to celebrate the return of Amadeo after his 16 years of self-exile in Spain. During the night, they sing, dance, reflect the past and make sense of the present.

Though a logical follow up to 7 Days in Havana, a 2012 anthology in which Cantet was one of the 7 directors,  the scale of the movie is too intimate (read: small) to merit the attention of such talented world-class director.

Credits:

Directed by Laurent Cantet
Produced by Laurent Baudens, Didar Domehri, Gaël Nouaille
Written by Laurent Cantet, Leonardo Padura Fuentes
Cinematography Diego Dussuel
Edited by Robin Campillo