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Hit the Road 12 rating

Panah Panahi’s thrilling debut is by turns tender, quirky, even laugh-out-loud funny as we join an Iranian family on a mysterious, chaotic road trip.

Drama 2021 93 mins

Director: Panah Panahi


Like every great road movie, Panahi’s drama is all about the journey. In the chaotic claustrophobia of the car, an energetic child (Rayan Sarlak) clambers over his surly father (Hassan Madjooni) whose broken leg – and mood – take up considerable space. In the front, mother (Pantea Panahiha) fusses over her other son in the driver’s seat (Amin Simiar), whose sullen face stays fixed on the deserted horizon. Nobody mentions where they are going, but as they drive through the countryside, accompanied by a brilliant soundtrack of 1970s Iranian pop, their stories unravel with laugh-out-loud humour, touching drama and unexpected twists.

This is a joyful and beautifully crafted film with a phenomenal cast, especially the infectiously charming Rayan Sarlak, who gives a stand-out performance as the younger brother. Nominated for the Golden Camera award at Cannes and winner of the Official Competition strand at the London Film Festival, Panahi’s debut is tender but playful, resulting in some magical moments of pure cinema.