Named one of the best films of 2022 by IndieWire, Panah Panahi’s feature debut “Hit the Road” finally premieres in theaters April 22 after much acclaim on the festival circuit. Below, and exclusive on IndieWire, watch the trailer for the upcoming release.
This isn’t your average family road trip. “Hit the Road” proves to be a quietly existential voyage, fueled by a husband and wife — played by Hassan Madjooni and Pantea Panahiha — as they smuggle their eldest child (Amin Simiar) out of Iran. Rayan Sarlak stars as their younger son.
Director Panahi himself is the son of the great filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who is still banned from making movies and from leaving the country.
“Hit the Road” premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and was later screened at the New York Film Festival. The film premieres April 22 at New York’s Film Forum as a Kino Lorber release.
Over the course of the road trip, the family bonds over memories of the past, grapple with fears of the unknown, and fuss over their sick dog, according to the official synopsis, as unspoken tensions arise surrounding the real purpose for their journey.
As David Ehrlich wrote in his review, “Hit the Road” is a story about “people who have to laugh in order to stop themselves from crying.” Director Panahi is “in full command of their own voice,” committing to the story with the “unwavering dedication of someone who knows that his characters don’t have any other choice.”
“Hit the Road” isn’t just a border story, but rather a film that “swerves between tragedy and gallows humor with the expert control of a stunt driver, and knowingly sabotages all of its most crushing moments with a deadpan joke,” per the review.
Ehrlich also praised the film for being at its best when “simultaneously operating in two different gears: The agony of loss is offset by the raw energy of life, the specific details of Farid’s escape dovetail with the universal heartache of surrendering a child to the adult world, and the dolorous tones of a twinkling piano become roadkill for — in the words of a little boy sticking his entire upper body out of an SUV’s sunroof as it speeds across the desert flats — ‘BLISS!!!'”
Watch the exclusive trailer below.