Home When You Return

A double exposure, a portrait of a body, a house that oscillates between its narrative past and its literal presence. The melodramatic, 1950s films of amateur filmmaker Joan Thurber Baldwin are psychically projected onto the house in which my grandmother raised seven kids as it is cleaned out and put up for sale after she passed away. Upholding the narrative structures of melodrama that often center around men, even when the films are about women, the film asks the viewer, as Thurber says in her introduction, to pay attention to the peripheries. (Carl Elsaesser)
by Carl Elsaesser
with Joan Thurber Baldwin, Mary Patricia Wuest, Edith Reverley, Christine Erperom
USA 2021 English 30’ Colour


  • Joan Thurber Baldwin (Joan)
  • Mary Patricia Wuest (Patricia)
  • Edith Reverley (Edith)
  • Christine Erperom (Christine)


Director Carl Elsaesser
Sound Design Alex Inglizian
Producer Carl Elsaesser

Produced by

Carl Elsaesser

Carl Elsaesser

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.”


2014 Project Gasbuggy; 7 min. 2015 Vague Images at the Beginning and End of the Day; 8 min. 2016 The Misbehaving Image; 13 min. 2020 Itinerary of Surfaces; 8 min. 2021 Home When You Return

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022