Panah Panahi, son and collaborator of embattled Iranian master Jafar Panahi, makes a striking feature debut with this charming, sharp-witted twist on the Iranian road-trip movie. A family speeds through the Iranian desert toward the Turkish border. But where are they going? Why is mom acting paranoid? Is the dog acting funny? With brooding elder son at the wheel, over-attentive polestar mother riding shotgun, and 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. Unspoken tensions arise, small hints are dropped, and the film builds emotional momentum as it slowly reveals the furtive purpose for their journey.
“The journey this family goes through was not the result of my invention: it follows the natural evolution of the Iranian landscapes. As they get closer to the border, the desert plains turn into a greener area, with many hills. Of course, other factors were taken into account in the choice of each location, but this progression of the landscape corresponds with that of the country” —Panah Panahi “Its 93 minutes whip by so airily, it's possible not to realize how much you've learned to love the family whose road trip you've shared in, until the credits roll and you immediately start to miss them.” —Jessica Kiang, Variety “[Director Panah] Panahi manages to keep an impressive amount of plates spinning all at once in HIT THE ROAD, a breath of fresh air and a truly original work that marks him as a talent to watch.” —Elena Lazic, The Playlist