German Movie Nights: Persian Lessons
In commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the German Film Office is pleased to present a special sneak preview of the acclaimed drama Persian Lessons by Ukrainian director Vadim Perelman as its first Movie Night selection of 2023. The film will be available for free streaming across the United States.
1942. Gilles, a young Belgian man, is arrested and sent to a concentration camp in Germany where he narrowly escapes execution by claiming to be Persian, not Jewish. When he is ordered to teach Farsi to the SS officer in charge of the camp’s kitchen, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Iran after the war, Gilles has no choice but to fabricate a language he doesn’t speak, word by word. As the unusual relationship between the two men starts giving rise to jealousy and suspicion, Gilles becomes acutely aware that one false move will expose his ruse and cost him his life.
Based on the 1977 short story “Erfindung einer Sprache” (Invention of a Language) by the late Wolfgang Kohlhaase, one of Germany’s most important screenwriters.
World premiere: Berlinale Special Gala, 2020
“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.” (Berlinale)
Dir. Vadim Perelman
With Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Lars Eidinger, Jonas Nay, Leonie Benesch
A Cohen Media Group release