Abbas Kiarostami passed away in 2016, but his imprint lives on in many images of contemporary cinema and naturally in a very special way in Iranian cinema, which he placed on the international map many decades ago. Let us remember that the first feature film of another of the essential voices of that cinematography, The White Globe, by Jafar Panahi, had a script by Kiarostami and Kiarostamian calligraphy. Now it is Jafar’s son, Panah Panahi, who makes his directorial debut with another film that brings back the emotional fragrance of the author of Through the Olive Trees. Panah is in his thirties, his father’s age when he filmed The White Balloon and, like him then, a creative maturity that is unusual for a debutant.

Hit the road is a car and road film, a visual and plot motif from which both Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi have already mined pure gold. Inside the vehicle, father, mother and two children. We soon understand that the objective of the trip is the eldest son’s flight from the country for reasons that escape us (this is a political film: the ordeal of the reprisaled filmmaker father is known to all, and that weighs on the filmmaker son), but, Until the flight does not occur, the director stops at episodes of various kinds, emphasizing humor and irony.

Sustained and long shots are frequent, either close up (inside the car) or in the distance (wide shots of characters and landscapes, such as the extraordinary one of the farewell between two very distant trees while we hear the dialogues and hardly see to whom they speak). One of those long, calm shots, that of the father and eldest son on the riverbank, where they talk and confess and exudes a cordial human warmth, could be said to be a tribute to the famous scene starring James Stewart and Richard Widmark in Two they ride together.

And it is surprising that, in such a naturalistic set, the young Panahi pulls out of his sleeve a poetic fugue as beautiful as that of the overhead shot of father and youngest son (great character, already a memorable child of the cinema) on the grass, which suddenly it transforms into a sky full of stars. A wonderful movie. And great news: Kiarostami’s poetry is still alive and well.

Director: Panah Panahi

Intérpretes: Hassan Madjouni, Pantea Panahiha, Rayan Sarlak, Amin Simiar

Production: Iran, 2021. Drama.

Score: * * *