The Festival, a unifying feature for all of Ticino

Ever since the evening of August 23, 1946, in which the first feature film of the first edition premiered, the Film Festival has indeed come a long way
© Locarno Film Festival / Ti-Press / Massimo Pedrazzini
Paride Pelli
08.08.2022 06:00

Since the evening of August 23, 1946, when the first feature film of the inaugural edition was screened, the Film Festival has really come a long way: today - in the words of Alain Berset, during one of his many public speeches - "Locarno is the summer capital of Ticino." Berset hit the nail on the head: the only genuine event that has an international character is hosted precisely in the city on Lake Maggiore. It is ten days in length during in which the Film Festival successfully manages to produce a magical ambience and a unique liveliness all around it, a virtuous circle of people of all ages who arrive in the city from all four corners of the world, each with their own backgrounds of culture and experience.

For this reason alone, apart from artistic content of high or very high standards, the Film Festival and Locarno constitute a uniqueness in all of Italian-speaking Switzerland. This year's edition, the first complete one since 2019 following the health restrictions due to the pandemic, is turning out to be a great success: and not only because of the full hotels and all the facilities that are operational. Indeed, Piazza Grande, the centerpiece of the Film Festival, is packed practically every night to date: a strong signal of the desire to fully return to those collective emotions that COVID has muted for two-plus years. But it is also an equally unmistakable proof of the Festival's ability to intercept a wide and cross-sectional audience, not necessarily just film buffs.

This is what makes the festival incomparable: all the life that revolves around it, from morning to late night, is a continuous teeming of people, of exchanges, of conversations, which contributes as much to the Festival as to its location, in a marriage of vested interests and enthusiasms. This is no small achievement in an international context weighed down by disturbing news that must be compensated, lest we succumb to it, with the non-superficial but constructive light-heartedness that is in the air these days and will be there until Saturday, when the closing credits roll. The Festival that crosses the finish line of the 75th edition is, at the organizational level, a machine now well-oiled in every gear, impeccable both in the management of the logistics and at the level of image and promotion: thanks to the great work of those on the command bridge conducting the operations and the nine hundred valuable collaborators. And of the weather, which - African heat aside - has not been overly erratic so far, proving to be a valuable as well as a fundamental ally of President Marco Solari and his team. So, let's hold on to the Film Festival, the only true terrace with an international outlook in our canton, as well as - it should be remembered - the leading film festival in all of Switzerland. So much so that a few more star guests and a few touches of healthy "glamour," in the future, could only enhance its weight throughout Europe.

In fact, it is already time to look ahead: as Solari has repeatedly said, "a Festival that stands still is a dead Festival." And like its dynamic and volcanic president, the city of Locarno also wishes to keep walking, indeed running, not only adapting to the times that change so suddenly even in the world of cinema but trying where possible to anticipate them. In order to guarantee itself an even brighter future that the whole of Ticino can enjoy.