'Hit the Road' has won the Best Film award and 'Costa Brava, Lebanon' secured the Audience Award.
BFI London Film Festival has announced its winners for the 2021 edition, and two Arab films made the cut — Iranian film Hit the Road and Lebanese film Costa Brava, Lebanon.
Written and directed by Panah Panahi, Hit the Road is the Iranian director’s debut feature. He is the son of Jafar Panahi, one of the most respected Iranian filmmakers and who is currently banned from engaging in filmmaking in his home country.
The film 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.
Costa Brava, Lebanon, which stars Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri and Lebanese actress Nadine Labaki, won the Audience Award.
Costa Brava is co-written by Lebanese director Mounia Akl and Spanish filmmaker Clara Roquet (El Adios) and has Bakri and Labaki playing a couple who leave Beirut in the hope of living a pollution-free life in the mountains. This utopian existence is destroyed, however, when the government decrees that a landfill be built right next to their new home, bringing the city’s rubbish right to their doorstep. Suddenly, the Badri family face being torn apart as tensions rise in their household.