Berlinale: Programme

Film file


Letters to the President

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Every year nearly ten million Iranians place their last hope in a nondescript building in Tehran: this is where they send their letters to President Ahmadinejad and where these letters are read, considered, and answered. “You have to love your people very much,” a young staff member says. “It’s hard work answering all these letters.”Everyone knows someone whose letter was answered. “The president is a brilliant diplomat. He brought us atomic energy and if he grants me an interest-free loan for 2,000 dollars …” “After all, it’s not his fault that it hasn’t rained for two years.” “He never finishes anything he starts. He’s like a farmer who sows but doesn’t water.” The film allows everyone to have their say – those who contradict themselves three times in a single sentence, those who, out of fear, say nothing at great length, and those who openly say what they think. From the restrained editing emerges a snapshot of a country in which people are worried – about the cost of food, the Americans, the power supply, the way to paradise, whether the world realizes that Islam stands for justice, and about the new jewelry regulations. Letters to the President demonstrates how difficult it is to form a conclusive judgment about the politics of a country where pragmatism, religious practice, political strategy, and systematic manipulation are all part of one and the same system.

Canada / Iran 2009, 74 min


Petr Lom

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