Persian Lessons

Date Shown

1st Mar 2023

 Persian_Lessons-poster200.jpgA Belarusian Second World War thriller. Its director, Vadim Perelman made ‘House of Sand and Fog’ in 2003, a much praised former presentation at Cinematheque. Allegedly inspired by true events, ‘Persian Lessons’ is a powerful and harrowing tale from 1942 Nazi-occupied France, where a Belgian Jew, Gilles, is arrested and taken to a concentration camp in Germany. He manages to evade immediate death by claiming that he is Persian and not Jewish. This lie temporarily saves his life, until he is taken to the camp commander who has been looking for a Farsi speaker to teach him the language so that he can emigrate to Tehran post-war. Gilles now faces the life or death task of teaching a man a language he does not know himself. It is from this point that the film opens up into an ingenious and engaging drama, where one false move could expose his lie. ‘Moving and Gripping’ Sorted Magazine UK, ‘Tense and Gut-Wrenching’ Boxofficebuz Website.

Audience Reactions


A: 25,  B: 02,  C:01,  D: 01,  E: 0

A: A beautiful film; wonderful unfolding of the story. Such a strong story structure. (A) Brilliant. (A) Fantastic. A Schindler’s List equivalent. Also humorous, moving and unforgettable. Reminder of man’s capability of such evil. (A) Powerful (A) Very moving (A) Hard to watch but brilliant (A) A totally different Holocaust memory from one who lived through the terror, genocidal, murderous regime…. (A) Astounding story. Beautifully acted amongst such grimness. (A ) Brilliant! (A) Powerful, the absurdity of war (A) Nazism, the antipathy of humanity & civilisation. (A) Sobering, strange, surprisingly humorous. The humanity of it. Authentic Nazism (A) An incredible story exceptionally well produced& screened. (A) Remarkably good – very powerful. (A) Powerful and gripping but not an easy watch. (A) Gripping – very moving – so well acted. (A) Very moving and spoke loud in any language (A)
B: Unbelievable and moving (B)
C: A fascinating insight into the obscenity of the Holocaust. (C)
D: Rather clichéd and improbable (D)

IMDB details

Persian Lessons | September 24, 2020 (Germany) 7.4


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Klaus Koch
Camp Commandant
Adjutant von Dewitz
SS-Obersturmführer Eugen Krupp
Marco Rossi
Jacob Rossi
France KAPO
Nazi Doctor
SS-Untersturmführer Siemens
French Policeman
American Investigator
SS-Sturmbannführer Farber

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Countries: Russia, Germany, BelarusLanguages: German, French, Italian, English, PersianBudget: €4,000,000 (estimated)


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