Iran Director’s Son Follows In His Father’s Footsteps To Cannes
Given that his famed father has undergone years of persecution at the hands of the authorities, it’s understandable that the family business did not appeal to young Iranian director Panah Panahi.
The 37-year-old, however, created a splash at the Cannes Feature Festival this weekend, presenting his first film, “Hit the Road,” at an event that his father, Jafar Panahi, has been barred from attending for more than a decade by Tehran.
The older Panahi has received numerous accolades at major film festivals, including the Berlin Film Festival’s top prize in 2015 for “Taxi” and the Cannes Film Festival’s best script award in 2018 for “Three Faces.”
He has been forbidden from leaving the nation to accept any of these accolades after being convicted of “propaganda against the system” in 2010, following his support for anti-government protests and a string of films critical of modern Iran.
None of this, however, troubled his son, who had considered becoming a director himself.
On the beach in Cannes, he told AFP, “These things were a minor bother for me.” “Throughout my life, my greatest concern was how to maintain a separate identity from my father.
He explained, “I was instantly drawn to movies with a passion… but this parallel was always there.”
He eventually “decided to solely worry about myself and what I want to achieve, and not to be preoccupied with my father’s troubles or these comparisons.” I would never have been able to make films otherwise.”
However, it’s difficult to avoid making analogies.
“Hit the Road” is screening in Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight, the same section where his father premiered his classic “The White Balloon” in 1995, winning the Prix de la Camera d’Or for best debut picture at Cannes.
The younger Panahi’s film is a quiet triumph, a moving and funny portrait of a family taking their son from Tehran to the border so he can leave the country.
“I have close friends who have fled Iran, so this is a serious concern of mine. Panahi told AFP that “all of my friends have reached a point where they find the situation unacceptable.”
“I went with the notion that the boy had come to a complete halt. This dead-end was a real one that I and everyone around me had experienced.”
However, Panahi stated that he did not want the specific situation in Iran to be the focus of his film, which is exactly what the film is about. Brief News from Washington Newsday.