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Senior Citizen Kane: Hit The Road

Panah Panahi

Hit the Road is the feature debut of director Panah Panahi, son of celebrated Iranian New Wave film-maker Jafar Panahi. In this case, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, and the younger Panahi has created a beautifully-observed, achingly tender film which also doesn't shy away from the complicated political landscape of life in contemporary Iran.

"...funny, heart-breaking, beautiful and everything in between."

Hit the Road has been described by critics as a “Persian Little Miss Sunshine” and follows a family as they drive across Iran. Mom (Pantea Panahiha) and Dad (Hasan Majuni) bicker and try to control their boisterous youngest son who bounces around the back seat (a hilarious, scene-stealing performance by 7 year old Rayan Sarlak) while big brother (Amin Simiar) drives quietly on. At first, we’re unsure of the road trip’s purpose, and hints and clues are dropped along the way. By the time we reach the family’s ultimate destination, we too feel like we have been on a journey with them.

Panahi is skilled at capturing the sense of lived-in affection this family has for each other, and we learn just as much about these characters by what is left unsaid as what they do say. The performances from the four leads are extraordinary and immediately convince you that this is a real family. Hit the Road is one of those special films that is deceptively simple. It is a triumphantly humanist debut and one of the best films of the year; funny, heart-breaking, beautiful and everything in between. 


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