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Switzerland, 1973 (MIFF 1974)

Director: Alain Tanner

Return from Africa is the latest film from Swiss director Alain Tanner, whose film The Salamander was shown at the Melbourne Festival last year. In Return from Africa, a young couple plan to leave Geneva and visit Africa. They write to a friend there, who advises them to come. So they sell their car and furniture and hold a farewell party in the empty fiat. Then a letter arrives telling them not to come and to wait for further instructions.

For several days they wait in the flat, unwilling to let their friends know about the fiasco. They begin to lose their appetite for sex and take-away food, and discover the disadvantages of isolation. They go to Africa, but only in imagination, through Alain Tanner's inventive and extended joke.

'The best of the entire Berlin Forum screenings, this lyrical, gentle, unobtrusive view of a young couple's awakening from a fantasy trip to Africa to escape the dullness of everyday life is the direct result of being thrown back on themselves when the planned trip unexpectedly falls through.'

Ronald Holloway, Variety

'Though the final message - that Third World problems can be found in your own back yard - is hammered home rather heavily, the film generally combines surface charm with political perception.'

Jan Dawson, Sight and Sound

See also...


Alain Tanner's second feature is co-written by the English Marxist art critic, John Berger, and has earned much critical attention overseas for its treatment of the alienation of a young girl trapped ... More »


The story is set in the valley of Moruz, which contains the town of Moruz and St. Claret, about 25 kilometres apart. Paul,34, is the director of a factory in St. Claret. His father is a small farmer ... More »


Alain Tanner, whose earlier films from Salamander to The Middle of the World, were shown in previous Festivals in Melbourne, has created the most ambitious and complex of his socio-political comedies ... More »


Afghanistan, "Switzerland of Asia", has about 12 million inhabitants and 12 cinemas. To one of these cinemas the admission is one afghani; the duration of the screening 3 minutes. ... Award of Merit ... More »

Air is Life

Air pollution, a world wide problem, is examined on five continents. The sources of the contamination are pinpointed: domestic heating, traffic and industrial waste, and possible ways of solving the ... More »

The Sun Itself Sees Not

Layers of images of hills, trees, sun and moon converging in movement, the vagaries of exposure flaring the sensitive film emulsion. Using just one roll of 16mm film, run through the camera three ... More »

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