Director's Dialogue on Art and Social Change Featuring Return, a Film by Liza Johnson

Public Programs

Return, images courtesy of Dada Films

Director's Dialogue on Art and Social Change
Featuring Return, a Film by Liza Johnson

Director's Dialogue on Art and Social Change

This recurring event supports the crucial role of contemporary arts in sparking meaningful dialogue about contemporary issues.

Visiting Filmmakers

Rising stars and acclaimed masters come to screen their films and talk with Wexner Center audiences.

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 7 PM

Our 2012 Director's Dialogue is inspired by Return, a powerful new film directed by Ohio native Liza Johnson that offers a compelling portrait of a woman returning to her small southern Ohio town after a military tour of duty.

After a screening of the film, director Johnson joins distinguished guests who are active in veterans’ affairs for a panel discussion. The panelists will address issues female veterans may face as they reenter domestic life, some shared with other vets and others specific to women, as well as the ever-expanding role of women in the U.S. military.

Our panelists are filmmaker Liza Johnson; Judith Broder, founder and director of The Soldiers Project and a 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal recipient; Erica Slone, an Ohio State student veteran and curator of an exhibition of art by women veterans for the National Veterans Art Museum; and Ken Harbaugh, a former U.S. Navy pilot, executive director of ServiceNation, and cofounder of The Mission Continues. Ann Fisher, host of WOSU’s All Sides, will moderate. Read more about the panelists in the program notes, linked below.

Return, Johnson's debut feature, was the only American film selected for the 2011 edition of the prestigious Director's Fortnight series, held in conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival. Linda Cardellini (Freaks and Geeks, ER, Brokeback Mountain) gives an outstanding performance as Kelli, the returning veteran whose enthusiasm for getting back to her normal life soon turns into an overwhelming sense of dislocation. Full of astute observations and extraordinary performances, Return is not only one of the year's strongest independent films but one of the most unusual female character studies in recent memory. Other featured actors include Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, Take Shelter, Boardwalk Empire) and John Slattery (Mad Men). (97 mins., video)

Here's one of many rave reviews the film has already attracted: "Thoughtful and gently powerful! Return offers a fresh look at just how hard it is for soldiers returning home to adjust to everyday life. Linda Cardellini's terrific performance demands attention and the film marks Liza Johnson as a new talent in indie cinema."—Screen International

The annual Director's Dialogue is made possible in part by a lead endowment gift from an anonymous donor.

Jean Dubuffet, Vaches au pre (Cows in a meadow), 1954

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