Hit The Road
Cert: 12A Year: 2021 Length: 93 mins Language: Persian & English
The audience who saw Jafar Panahi's 'No Bears' recently were keen to see his son's first film, which has debuted to great reviews, won 'Best Film' at the London Film Festival and made 28 in the BFI top 50 for last year; here it is.
"A family is making a tense, hot, uncomfortable road trip in a borrowed car through remote north-western Iran, heading apparently for the Turkey/Azerbaijan border. The elder son is at the wheel, a quiet young guy who says little but often seems in the grip of an intense, suppressed emotion. Pantea Panahiha is excellent as his mum, sitting in the front passenger seat, bantering drily with her husband in the back: a shambling, grumpy bear of a man with a broken leg in a plaster cast and a consistent need to smoke. Next to him is a wacky 8-year-old boy who gives a glorious performance: always clowning around, winding down the window and winding everyone up. Their ailing dog, Jessy, in the back, keeps needing to be taken out for calls of nature... Great child acting is rare: so is great adult acting, and so is great directing of children and adults. But they all come together in this lovely, beautifully composed debut feature drenched in a subtle but urgent political meaning" – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian. The reason they are travelling is left until late in the film.
The journey takes them through some wonderful landscapes, captured by Amin Jafari (who also worked on 'No Bears'), and is full of humour and sadness which, as Mark Kermode points out in the Observer, "is the key to this enchanting movie's magical spell".
It is a wonderful, pretty much perfect wee gem. Do go and see it.
Graeme Tuckett, Stuff.co.nz
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