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A film that hovers between fable and farce,  Benvenuto Presidente! is the story of a down-to-earth librarian/trout fisherman (Claudio Bisio) named Giuseppe Garibaldi (Peppino to his friends) who, by an odd twist of fate, becomes head of the Italian state. A miscommunication between representatives from the three main political parties (Giuseppe Fiorello, Massimo Popolizio and Cesare Bocci, expert wheelers and dealers) who cannot agree on who should be the next President leads to the parliamentarians writing the name of nineteenth century Italian hero Garibaldi on their ballots. Little do they realize that an actual guy named Garibaldi who is eligible to take office.

Against all odds, Peppino accepts his new duties and with the help of some much-needed protocol lessons of his vice secretary general (Kasia Smutniak), he’s moderately successful even despite having his resolute honstely being constantly questioned by the corrupt politicians around him. What Peppino lacks in a conventional approach to the job of President, he more than makes for in good sense, humour, and a straightforwardness that he attempts to bring to the country.

Positively Capra-esque in the way the tale unfolds, Benvenuto Presidente is an affable little film that makes a biting statement about Italian politics in the most pleasant manner possible. This is social commentary with a popcorn twist and while it’s pretty predictable in the way that it plays out, and its gags are occasionally kind of goofy, it clearly has message that its trying to impart – that alone kicks it up a notch above a standard slapstick comedy.

Is  Benvenuto Presidente! ICFF Essential?

Yes – you’ll have a delightful time at the theatre with this one.

Benvenuto Presidente! Screening Time

Benvenuto Presidente! Trailer