Hit the Road
Hit the Road

Hit the Road

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Hit the Road

Directed by: Panah Panahi

Iran, 2021, 93m

In Persian with English subtitles

Panahi’s Hit the Road opens at full speed. Where are we going and why? Unknown. But the rich relationships and terrific acting keep us involved. An ordinary and extraordinary family—moody, incapacitated father, emotional mother, silent elder son, exuberant youngster, and ailing family dog—are on the road through an unforgiving but transformative landscape. Audiences will recognize the imprimatur of car-based filmmaking by père Jafar Panahi (Taxi) and his mentor Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry), but the director-writer clearly takes the driver’s seat in a phenomenal debut feature. Remarkably self-assured, he turns tonal wheels on a dime, from unspoken tension to silliness, from laughter to devastation, as the trip’s purpose is revealed. As one son cuts family ties, the other remains. The sagacious father explains, “When you see a cockroach, remember that his parents sent him out into the world with lots of hope.” A pre-revolutionary soundtrack bolsters the action, as the film finds a sense of wonder in the ordinary and the magical. Don’t miss the star-gazing riff on 2001: A Space Odyssey! Tender, humanistic filmmaking at its finest and well worth the ride. “Bliss!”

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