The Return

Created by Athena Mandis, The Pitch 2020

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The Return is a short drama of two Greek Cypriot sisters from London, refugees, returning to their childhood home in Northern Cyprus they fled in 1974. Irene and Anna travel to their childhood home in the North. As they travel across the island the scar of the war still visible on the landscape. Their car breaks down. A Turkish driver stops and fixes their car. He shares with them how he wishes the island was once again united. They travel on. Putting off the inevitable they visit Kyrenia Castle. It's been a long time since the sisters have spent time together and home truths surface. They finally arrive at the village, curtains twitch. They approach the house. Someone is living there. Unsure they wait. An elderly woman opens the door and to their surprise invites them in. She shares with them how she had to leave her house in the south. She hands them a box. Inside are keepsakes, photos and their mother's wedding dress. She had been saving them, in case one day anyone returned. They realise that both sides of this conflict have suffered. Something in them shifts. They can lay the ghosts to rest and move on.

Biblical Connection

Jeremiah, 30:17 God promises Rachel that her children will return to their homeland. In a world where millions of displaced peoples around the world dream of returning home one day, this film explores what it means to return to a place that has since moved on. It looks at the plight of the refugee and asks us to look at the suffering war inflicts for years after. The Return is set in Cyprus where the island was divided following the war in 1974. Many on both sides of the conflict lost their homes as they were forced to flee – the Greeks to the south and the Turks to the north, where they were forced to occupy the abandoned houses. In my story sisters, Irene and Anna, return, having been burdened by their parent's feelings of loss their whole life. Now they have a chance to understand the impact of this war from the other side. The people from both sides have suffered and the forces of political machinations manipulated the narrative and suffering to keep the people divided. God tells Rachel that the enemy will be vanquished, but righteousness and polarisation rarely brings about peace.