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09 June1947
The Visit
Fratelli Chierici
Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi

The visit is that of the Archbishop of Genoa, Monsignor Siri, to the Ricovero di Mendicità della Doria, in the Ligurian capital, on 9 June 1947. The 40-year-old Genoese Giuseppe Siri is brilliantly climbing the ecclesiastical hierarchies, soon to become a cardinal and attend no less than four conclaves. He will always be considered papable without, however, ever being elected to the papal throne (although one conspiracy theory claims that he was once actually elected and then forced to renounce). He is described as a traditionalist on the doctrinal level, politically an intransigent opponent of totalitarianism, a skilful organiser, attentive to welfare organisations.

Welcoming him is Ludovico Maria Chierici, the administrator of the Ricovero (later called the Rest and Educational Home) and there is the 16mm camera in the hand of his son Enrico. In this excerpt from the film, documenting the complete visit, we catch a glimpse of Ludovico Maria, a tall and thin sixty-something man with an austere appearance, wearing a bow tie, passionate about photography and moving images, so much so that he involved his children in a family passion shared with a thousand activities and projects. Here Enrico documents the visit not neglecting the details none of which are accidental, but towards the end something unexpected and beautiful happens. The children, arranged in the order that the visit imposes, eventually break ranks and attracted by the camera - they have probably never seen one before - look into the camera. Their gaze crosses ours. The children look at us.