Chief White Elk
Beppe Leonetti, with the collaboration of Wu Ming 2
1924. When Chief White Elk arrives in Europe, the Old Continent is in a deep economic and political crisis. It has still not recovered from the 16 million dead and 20 million casualties of First World War, and it is facing new, terrible events: mainly an economic depression and the rise of populism and nationalism which will lead to WWII. But Chief White Elk doesn't notice all this turmoil. His name is, in reality, Edgar Laplante - a mediocre actor on a promotional tour of Paramount's latest movie - who has one chance to take the leading role. And he takes it.
From England to Belgium and France he charms European aristocracy with his elegant manners. He is invited to every social gathering, where he seduces the noblest ladies and fascinates the richest gentlemen. "The success convinced me to continue my tour" he writes in his diary. Invited in Italy by two Austrian countesses, prepared to fund his travel, Chief White Elk fascinates Italians exhausted by the economic crisis and the political violence. His admiration for Mussolini leads to an incredible proposal: an alliance between American Indians and fascists.
He undertakes a picaresque journey through a country devastated by the disappearance of Giacomo Matteotti, a socialist parliamentary and opponent. He stays in Trieste’s most luxurious hotel, drives a seaplane over Rijeka, rides a white horse on the island of Brijuni, throws handfuls of banknotes to the crowd while doing the fascist salute from the balcony. His six month journey around the country is abruptly stopped in Turin, where Laplante is arrested on charges of being an impostor. Today, his grandchildren live in a reservation and know nothing about him. This film will tell them his story.