Lettera al Presidente (Letter to the President)
(2013, Italy, Documentary, 74 min.)
In ITALIAN with ENGLISH subtitles
Directed by Marco Santarelli
Written by Teresa Bertilotti and Marco Santarelli
Followed by a conversation with Teresa Bertilotti.
On the grounds of the residence of Italy’s president, three men are listening to a guide who is explaining the history of the gardens. Who are these three men? To find out we need to take a step back in time. It’s 1969. From Tortoreto, a small village in Abruzzo, three children who have shared the collective euphoria over the Americans’ moon landing write a letter to the President of the Italian Republic Giuseppe Saragat, asking him to help them reach Mars. This request can now be found in the Italy’s presidential archives, which contain millions of letters and other documents written by Italian citizens to their presidents.
Based on Teresa Bertilotti’s archival research, Letter to the President is an intimate look at the lives of the men and women who turned to Italy’s highest authority, the President of the Republic, from the immediate post-war period to 1969, for advice in solving a problem or making a dream come true. It’s a priceless legacy from those decades, and up to the present day, one that has never been properly studied. Covering the post-war reconstruction of Italy and its economic boom, with its promise and its failings, it’s a journey made up of the dramatic real-life stories and the many dreams, as well, that emerge from the Italy of yesteryear (and perhaps today, as well), seen from a wholly original viewpoint.