Home When You Return is an attempt to evoke the figure of a grandmother in a world where American melodramas are still alive: through a mournful letter, through an empty house, through the image of another woman from the same time and another world.
Joan Thurber Baldwin is the woman who follows Carl Elsaesser’s grandmother like a shadow. And that’s because the filmmaker brings them together for several reels of film, mixing bits of Thurber Baldwin’s melodramas – counterpoints to the male dominance of Hollywood cinema – with snippets of the grandmother’s life. Elsaesser slips straight into the soft flesh of nostalgia, searching for Grandma’s presence in the interiors of an empty house, soaked in old furniture, etched into the walls scrawled by a child’s hand, vaguely glimpsed in dust particles in the light filtered through the windows. Although the air of the 1950s may be preserved in a house put up for sale, the world can no longer be the same as before. (Andreea Chiper, BIEFF 2022)
Carl Elsaesser graduated from Hampshire College and the University of Iowa. He lives and works between mid-coast and interior Maine and Brooklyn. He has made several short films which have screened at festivals in New York, Michigan, Amsterdam, and Busan, among others. In his work, Elsaesser mixes genres and materials to produce work that “critically investigates the overarching presence of the historical without losing sight of individual experiences of human connection.” His filmography includes the following short films: Project Gasbuggy (2014), Vague Images at the Beginning and End of the Day (2015), The Misbehaving Image (2016), Itinerary of Surfaces (2020).
PRODUCER: Carl Elsaesser
DISTRIBUTOR: Carl Elsaesser
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