Panah Panahi, son and collaborator of embattled Iranian master Jafar Panahi, makes a striking feature debut with this charming, sharp-witted, and deeply moving comic drama. Hit the Road takes the tradition of the Iranian road-trip movie and adds unexpected twists and turns. It follows a family of four – two middle-aged parents and their sons, one a taciturn adult, the other an ebullient six-year-old – as they drive across the Iranian countryside. Over the course of the trip, they bond over memories of the past, grapple with fears of the unknown, and fuss over their sick dog. Unspoken tensions arise and the film builds emotional momentum as it slowly reveals the furtive purpose for their journey. The result is a humanist drama that offers an authentic, raw, and deeply sincere observation of an Iranian family preparing to part with one of their own.
Winner of Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival and an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival (Directors’ Fortnight), New York Film Festival, and AFI Fest, Hit the Road began earning accolades the minute it premiered last year:
“A love story, a tragicomedy, and a triumph. Panahi films the drama with aesthetic audacity to match his psychological subtlety… unites intimate conflicts and vast landscapes in framings as wry as they are rhapsodic.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“Sharp and endearing. A warm and realistic comedy, with flashes of the fantastic. Introduces an exciting filmmaker whose journey is just beginning.” — Jacob Oller, Paste
“A stunningly assured road movie.“ – Leigh Singer, Sight & Sound
“An intimate, frequently funny, poignant and deeply moving piece of work… damned near to being a masterpiece – if it isn’t simply one already.” – John Bleasdale, Cinevue