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