جاده خاکی, Jadde Khaki
dir: Panah Panahi
There’s been all this blather about nepo babies lately, as in, the children of famous people supposedly getting a leg up due to nepotism, and I wanted to issue something of a corrective – sometimes being the son of one of Iran’s most famous directors isn’t really the boon that it might sound like.
Sure, Jafar Panahi is one of Iran’s most celebrated directors (outside of Iran), but he’s also a director most often punished by the regime for his movies. He’s been jailed, banned from making movies, banned from leaving the country, all that good stuff. So being his son isn’t really going to open a lot of doors for you.
Panah Panahi probably doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone, but he’s made a film even his father would envy.
Hit the Road is mostly a flick about a family travelling on the road. They’re travelling fairly far, for reasons that are unclear at first. The dad (Hasaan Madjooni) has a broken leg, and can’t drive. The mum (Pantia Panahiha) is sleepy. They have a young son who might be part demon (Rayan Sarlak), and a nervous older son (Armin Simiar), who’s doing the driving, in this borrowed car.
Wherever they’re going, they don’t seem to be in a rush to get there, and they’re only travelling during the day. They’re a family in that they have a shit-stirring energy with each other, and clearly a lot of family favourite songs and in-jokes.
They’re not meant to be using or even possessing mobile phones, which is a bit weird. It’s not weird to see this in other films, where people are paranoid about being tracked or spied on. But this is an Iranian flick. Let’s not forget that Iran has a brutal totalitarian regime in place since the Revolution in the late 70s, which replaced the totalitarian regime under the Shah. The morality police kill women for not wearing a headscarf in public. The Revolutionary Guards torture and kill those who complain about living in a country where women are killed for not wearing a fucking headscarf.
If this family is scared of someone tracking them, isn’t it the regime’s goons they’re afraid of?
What I’m saying is, how did this film get made without everyone involved not being hung?
It’s not like this regime shies away from executing women and children. All in the name of maintaining their tenuous grip on power. The more brutal the regime, the more fragile its grip.
So maybe I answered my own questions. They’re scared of the government’s goons, which is also the reason for the trip, because the older son is sneaking out of the country and into Turkey, but not through legal means.