The Return (2013 film)

The Return (Spanish: El regreso) is a 2013 Venezuelan film directed by Patricia Ortega. The first Zulian film of this millennium,[1] it premiered on 30 August 2013 in commercial cinemas in Venezuela.[2]

The Return
SpanishEl regreso
Directed byPatricia Ortega
Written byPatricia Ortega
Produced bySergio Gómez Antillano
CinematographyMauricio Siso
Edited bySergio Curiel
Music byJavier Pedraja
Mandrágora Films Zulia C.A.
Release date
  • 30 August 2013 (2013-08-30) (Venezuela)
Running time
107 minutes
  • Wayuu
  • Spanish



An armed group breaks the tranquility of the inhabitants of Bahía Portete in the Colombian Alta Guajira. In the midst of the horror and blood, women risk their lives to help their children escape. Shüliwala, a girl of only 10, manages to flee to a border city. But once she is in this strange territory, she must manage to survive and not lose hope of returning home.


  • Daniela González as Shüliwala
  • Sofía Espinoza as Bárbara
  • Gloria Jusayú as Nereida
  • Dorila Echeto as Wattakuolu
  • María Echeto as Dorila
  • Laureano Olivares as Juan
  • Jessica González as María
  • Lilia González as Meche
  • Aranaga Epiayú as José
  • Adalberto Morales as Macunta
  • Clara Prieto as Yonna
  • Edelmira Hernández as Nisia
  • Ángela Fernández as Wala
  • Salvador Villegas as Marcos
  • Segundo Bracho as Luis
  • Antonio Villasmil as Caracortá
  • Jesús Muñoz as Mechas
  • Andrés Barrios as Parapeto
  • Leonardo Isea as Pérez
  • José Antonio Toledano as El gordo
  • Gilberto González as Rodolfo
  • Enrico Trabucchi as Queta


The Baralt Theatre in 2013, with a giant poster for the film hanging at its left

Filming took place between the community of Quisiro [es], Miranda Municipality [es], and Maracaibo, Zulia. Locations in the city of Marabina served as the setting for the film, including Las Pulgas market, Las Playitas Shopping Center, La Cañada Morillo, El Callejón de Los Pobres, and the surroundings of Plaza Bolívar.[3]

Theme and influences


The film is based on the real events of the Bahía Portete massacre, which took place in the Colombian Guajira on 16 April 2004. A paramilitary group broke into a Wayuu camp, killing people. Some bodies were found and others disappeared. It caused the involuntary displacement of some 600 people who took refuge in Zulia, Venezuela.

"It was decided to make a fiction film to protect the identity of those affected who are still struggling to recover their territory," clarified Patricia Ortega, and added that the beginning of the story of El Regreso is based on those events.[4]

The Return shows part of the Wayuu culture during the beginning of the film. Later, during the ending, the main character takes over the screen with the experiences of the transition between flight, survival, and the journey back home. More than 70% of the language used in the film is indigenous Wayuu.

Awards and nominations

Venue Category Recipient Result
2013 Festival Entre Largos y Cortos de Oriente (ELCO) Best First Feature Patricia Ortega Winner[5]
Art Direction María Gabriela Vílchez Winner[5]
Best Cinematography Mauricio Siso Winner[5]
Best Leading Actress Daniela González Winner[5]
2014 San Diego Latino Film Festival Contestant[6]
2014 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival Best Cinematography Mauricio Siso Winner[7]
2014 Margarita Latin American and Caribbean Film Festival Golden Pelican for Best Fiction Feature Winner[8]


  1. ^ Carreño, Reyna (11 September 2011). "Un espejo entre guajiros y alijunas" [A Mirror Between Guajiros and Alijunas]. Revista Estampas Zuliana (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Película venezolana 'El Regreso' refleja la realidad del pueblo Wayúu" [Venezuelan Film 'The Return' Reflects the Reality of the Wayuu People]. Últimas Noticias (in Spanish). 31 August 2013. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  3. ^ De Donato, Mexi (16 September 2011). "Rueda el cine venezolano en Maracaibo con 'El Regreso' de Patricia Ortega" [Venezuelan Cinema Rolls in Maracaibo with 'The Return' by Patricia Ortega] (in Spanish). University of Zulia. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  4. ^ "El Regreso, película basada en hechos reales" [The Return, Film Based on Real Events]. Revista Venezolana (in Spanish). 30 August 2013. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "El regreso se llevó el galardón a Mejor Largometraje Ópera Prima en ELCO 2013" [The Return Wins Best First Feature at ELCO 2013]. Correo del Orinoco (in Spanish). Caracas. 22 September 2013. p. 33. Retrieved 22 July 2018 – via issuu.
  6. ^ "El regreso". San Diego Latino Film Festival. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  7. ^ "VIWIFF Award Winners". Reel West Magazine. March–April 2014. p. 30. Retrieved 20 July 2018 – via issuu.
  8. ^ Pulgar, Silanny (19 October 2013). "El Regreso gana premio Pelícano de Oro en Margarita" [The Return Wins Golden Pelican at Margarita]. La Verdad (in Spanish). Maracaibo. Retrieved 22 July 2018.