In a small village in Lebanon, a soap maker toils in his dingy shop. He earns very little respect from the townsfolk, though his service is essential. Then, one day, the President of the country calls him. As part of a new “Clean Up the Country” campaign, he will be visiting the humble shop to buy the finest soaps available in a publicity stunt. The owner is told to keep the visit secret.

Of course, that fails immediately.

First, the soap maker tells his uncle, a local fishmonger. The uncle spreads the word immediately, and takes credit for owning the soap shot, to boot (he doesn’t; but is quick to take advantage of the publicity to hawk his mackerel). Now, ever denizen of the sleepy town is dressed to the nines, ready to impress the president with their sophistication.

Except he doesn’t show. And the soap maker has decided to sell his soaps to the President alone. Soon, the fisherman are practically knocking down the door requesting soaps to wash out the smell. His uncle parks his car in front of the door in protest. But the soap is meant only for the president.

The President’s Visit is a comedy through-and-through, a farcical look at a populace intent on impressing the powerful by any means necessary, including hoarding bath soaps.

Screens (as part of Short Cuts Programme 3):
Friday, September 15, 6:30 PM, Scotiabank 10

Tickets can be purchased at the TIFF website.