Iranian and Lebanese films awarded at BFI London Film Festival

An Iranian film about a chaotic family on a road trip won first prize at the BFI London Film Festival on Sunday.

In 2020, this distinction was awarded to Thomas Vinterberg Another round, which also won the Oscar for best international feature film.

Written and directed by Panah Panahi, Take the road is the Iranian director’s debut feature. He is the son of Jafar Panahi, one of Iran’s most respected filmmakers and currently banned from making films in his home country.

The film, presented for the first time at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, has received excellent reviews since its screening. It follows the story of a family getting ready to say goodbye to one of their own. In the backseat of their borrowed vehicle sits Dad, who has a broken leg, while Mum tries to laugh when she can’t hold back tears. The youngest keeps breaking into the karaoke of the cars and the older brother, who leaves the country, remains silent.

Take the road has been described as tender and touching, as it follows the dynamics of a family of four while masterfully changing emotions throughout the film.

The Sutherland Award for first feature film went to Belgian director Laura Wandel Playground, while the Grierson Award for Best Documentary went to Liz Garbus Become Cousteau, on the life of French explorer Jacques Cousteau.

The drama of Mounia Akl Costa Brava, Lebanon, with Nadine Labaki and Saleh Bakri, won the festival audience award.

Complete list of awards at the BFI London Film Festival

Official competition (Best film award): Take the road by Panah Panahi

First Feature Film Competition (Sutherland Prize): Playground by Laura Wandel

Documentary Competition (Grierson Prize): Become Cousteau by Liz Garbus

Immersive and XR art competition: Extension only by Duncan Speakman

Short film competition (Short film award): Love, daddy by Diana Cam Van Nguyen

Public Prize: Costa Brava, Lebanon by Mounia Akl

Update: October 18, 2021, 12:03 p.m.

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