Liza Johnson

»In all my work, I’m interested in the ongoing present, in the atmosphere and texture of everyday life. … For Return, I felt that it was most interesting to narrate the blunt textures of how a crisis feels when it’s played out in the everyday. … Return is not a political argument, or at least it is not one in the pro-and-con polemical style that dominates American political conversation. The film doesn’t make moral judgments about war or the homeland – it walks a line that makes those judgments difficult, or at least beside the point. Instead it demands empathetic engagement with a woman in an extreme state of being, grounded in a very particular community, place and time.
– Liza Johnson

Back from a military tour of duty, Kelli can’t wait to rejoin her old life in the Rust Belt town she’s always known. She’s ready to experience the carpet under her bare feet, the smell of her baby’s head, her working on the forklift truck. But the life she left behind has become stale to her. Daily life is banal, yet difficult to cope with as well. Nowhere does she see any signs of the war she has been fighting in, and whether it made any sense where she was, and why. She finds that her friends are preoccupied with trifles. Her children need more focused attention than she can give, and her husband Mike – if he wants anything at all – wants his old wife back. Kelli risks becoming an outsider and struggles to find a way forward.
This is the German premiere of Return.

Director / Script

Liza Johnson


Anne Etheridge


Paul Zucker, Affonso Goncalves


Chen Harpaz


T. Griffin


Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon, John Slattery und andere


Noah Harlan, Ben Howe



Portrait of Liza Johnson

Liza Johnson

The works of artist and filmmaker Liza Johnson have been exhibited internationally and are shown at the film festivals in New York, Berlin, Cannes and Rotterdam. Johnson took part in the artist programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Sundance Institute, and has published a number of articles and interviews about art and film. Liza Johnson is Professor of Art at Williams College.

Films by Liza Johnson (Selection)
In the Air 2009 | South of Ten 2006 | Desert Motel 2005 | Falling 2004 | Fernweh – The Opposite of Homesick 2000 | Giftwrap 1998