Route de nuit - Hit the road, road-movie à l

Night road – Hit the road, Iranian road-movie

We are used to road movies which transport us across the North American continent, much less to walks through the Iranian landscapes!

It is a nice surprise to now discover on our screens this first feature film that director Panah Panahi presented at Cannes in 2021 and whose title refers to a song by Ray Charles.

Behind closed doors in a Mazda station wagon.

The car is the tool of this story. In this case, it is a Mazda B Series station wagon (the vehicle, not the film) born in the 1980s. A family is locked in the camera of this charmless utility: four people with their history , their situation, their fantasies, their secrets. The unspoken are omnipresent. The tension is constantly balanced by humor and lightness.

The eldest son, behind the wheel, is silent, his brother is a crazy kid and a little drunk. The father, his leg in plaster, wields humor at will while the mother juggles with her anxieties.

The most mundane cars can become icons, like the Mazda Series B.
The most mundane cars can become icons, like the Mazda Series B.

The scenario is punctuated by the journey which takes place in a grandiose and superb setting. A beauty and grandeur that contrasts with the cabin of the Mazda, cramped and desolate, like many of those escaped cars from the 1970s, which have aged draining a load of infinite melancholy, ordinary cars that we sometimes protect out of compassion calling them “youngtimers”.

The protagonists curl up in this anonymous, ordinary car that contrasts with the sumptuous and immense space that surrounds them in an Iran different from the traditional representations that we usually receive.

It is good to remember that cars are not only works of art but are above all accessories of daily banality.

Hit the road, a revelation from the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
Hit the road, a revelation from the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

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