Persian Lessons

Уроки фарси
1942. Gilles, a young Belgian man, is arrested by the SS alongside other Jews and sent to a concentration camp in Germany. He narrowly avoids execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian. This lie temporarily saves him, but then Gilles is assigned a seemingly untenable mission: to teach Farsi to Koch, the officer in charge of the camp’s kitchen, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Iran once the war is over. Gilles finds himself having to invent a language he doesn’t know, word by word. As the unusual relationship between the two men begins to incite jealousy and suspicion, Gilles becomes acutely aware that one false move could expose his swindle.

Filmmaker Vadim Perelman directs this gripping drama with a slick, assured hand. Persian Lessons achieves that rare feat of maintaining a fine balance between a respectful account of the horrors of the Shoah, and a sense of irony that may be one of the keys to surviving such madness.
2020, Russia, Belarus, Germany, 120 min., 16+
Vadim Perelman
Lars Eidinger, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Leonie Benesch, Alexander Beyer, Nico Ehrenteit, Jonas Nay
German, French, Persian, English, Italian
Awards & Festivals
  • Berlin Film Festival – World Premiere (Berlinale Special Gala)
  • Transatlantyk Festival: Lodz – Transatlantyk Golden Ark (Best Film)
  • Valladolid International Film Festival – José Salcedo Award (Best Editing)
  • Beijing International Film Fesival – participation 

Currently on screen