Panah Panahi’s Hit the Road wins award for ‘distinctive film-making that captures essence of cinema’

A tender and unexpectedly funny story about a family’s road trip through the twisting desert highways and misty green valleys of northwestern Iran has won the most prestigious prize at this year’s London film festival.

Hit the Road, the debut by Panah Panahi – son of esteemed Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi – centres on a family of four making a run for the border, as the father (Hassan Madjooni) struggles with a broken leg, the mother (Pantea Panahiha) laughs when she’s holding back tears, the youngest (Rayan Sarlak) explodes into car karaoke, and the older son (Amin Simiar) remains mysteriously sullen. Nobody mentions where they’re going, but knowledge of their unspoken destination turns despair into affection and eccentric behaviour, all set to the soundtrack of 70s Iranian pop.

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