A family speeds through the Iranian desert toward the Turkish border: Where are they going? Why is mom paranoid about being followed? Is the dog acting funny? At the wheel is the family's brooding elder son, with an over-attentive mother riding shotgun, and a bearded, full-bellied pops (one leg immobilized in a cast) in the backseat losing a battle of wits with his younger son – whose rascally energy keeps everyone both entertained and exasperated. 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. HIT THE ROAD takes the tradition of the Iranian road-trip movie and adds unexpected twists and turns.
Panah Panahi, son of embattled Iranian master Jafar Panahi and apprentice to the legendary Kiarostami, makes a striking feature debut with this charming, sharp-witted, and deeply moving comic drama.
NR, 93 min. Persian with subtitles.
“Unforgettable. Panah Panahi's heartbreaking and unexpectedly hilarious debut channels his father Jafar while speeding in the opposite direction. A lovable and affecting crowd-pleaser...a beautifully tender comedy that tears your heart in half with a featherweight touch - a film that swerves between tragedy and gallows humor with the expert control of a stunt driver.” – IndieWire
“Once you’ve seen this deft blend of genres and tones, all of the inspired laughter and the lumping of throats, you see exactly how HIT THE ROAD fits all of its elements together with remarkable seamlessness.” – Rolling Stone
“(A) vibrant debut...(with) shaggy good humor and spontaneous filming style. (It) feels like the arrival of a vital, individual new voice. Veers from ribald comedy to profound melancholy. A crowd-pleaser that nonetheless doesn’t serve up easy punchlines or cozy messages." – Sight + Sound
“Panahi films the drama with aesthetic audacity to match his psychological subtlety.” – The New Yorker