Hit the Road (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI Southbank

Iran has a fine tradition of driving movies – films like Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry (1997) and Jafar Panahi’s Taxi Tehran (2015) in which cars are private sanctuaries from which to observe the state of a nation. Hit the Road, the rich and wonderful debut feature by Panahi’s son Panah, continues in the same lane, but with new gas in the tank. It follows a family as they traverse northern Iran with an unstated, mysterious goal – one that underscores the often comic road trip with a sense of abstract danger. A favourite at festivals last year, Hit the Road arrives in the UK in the wake of the recent political arrest of Jafar Panahi, which has confirmed the film’s urgency and relevance. 

Paris, Texas (1984)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI Southbank

Paris, Texas (1984)

King of the road movie back in the 1970s and 80s was German director Wim Wenders, who even called his production company Road Movies. Paris, Texas is among his most beloved creations – a European production that offered one of the definitive outsider depictions of the American southwest. Harry Dean Stanton plays the stray who wanders into a desert town with a troubled past he can’t remember, Ry Cooder supplies the twanging guitar score, and Robby Müller shoots buttes, big skies and city nightscapes with thrilling, alien fondness. Wenders’ film won the Palme d’Or in 1984, and it still looks like one of that decade’s most beguiling releases.

Pink Flamingos (1972)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

Pink Flamingos (1972)

It comes to something when a movie ending with real-life shit-eating enters the esteemed Criterion Collection, but here we are. Fifty years after John Waters’ nailbomb of bad taste became one of the definitive, dangerous-to-the-touch midnight movies, it’s now afforded the home entertainment equivalent of an invitation from the Queen: pristine restoration, bountiful extras, a Criterion spine number. Not that Waters’ transgressive troublemaker has lost any of its power to shock and repulse. Putting us into radioactive orbit with Diva’s Baltimore trailer trash and her bolshy campaign to defend her title of ‘Filthiest Person Alive’, Pink Flamingos includes incest, cannibalism, toe-sucking, a dancing anus and plenty more.

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Where’s it on? BBC Two, Saturday, 1.15pm

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Thirteen years before Pink Flamingos, film censorship was keeping American cinema much more buttoned up, but plenty were pushing the bar. Billy Wilder’s classic Some Like It Hot plays with drag and gender fluidity in a way that might have proved scandalous had Wilder not dressed it all up in a comedy so witty and delicious that objection was all but useless. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play the musicians escaping the unwanted attention of mobsters by disguising themselves as women to join Marilyn Monroe’s all-girl band on a trip down to Florida millionaire country. Wilder’s cross-dressing farce had to be released without approval from the Motion Picture Production Code, but proved a massive hit with audiences regardless.

Fire of Love (2022)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI IMAX

Narrated by Miranda July, Fire of Love tells the lava story of husband-and-wife volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft via the huge archive of film footage they left behind after their death by volcanic explosion in 1991. A Herzogian tale of oddball human passion as defined against the mighty, unwavering forces of the natural world, Sara Dosa’s film is chock full of spectacular volcanic imagery – out-dazzling even Herzog’s own daring Werner-vs-the-volcano doc La Soufrière (1977). It’s a film to see as big as you can find it, but one that never dwarfs the eccentric human story at its core.