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Poster for Persian Lessons (2023)
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Persian Lessons (2023)

Opens on June 16

Director: Vadim Perelman Run Time: 127 min. Release Year: 2020

Starring: Alexander Beyer, Jonas Nay, Lars Eidinger, Leonie Benesch, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart

Country: Russia, Germany, Belarus
Language: German, Farsi, French, Italian, English

About the film:

Official Selection, 2020 Berlin Film Festival
Belarusian entry for Best International Feature at the 93rd Academy Awards

Occupied France, 1942. Gilles is arrested by SS soldiers alongside other Jews and sent to a camp in Germany. En route to the camp, he narrowly avoids sudden execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian. This lie temporarily saves him, but then he is assigned a literal life-or-death mission: to teach Farsi to Head of Camp Koch, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Iran once the war is over.

Through an ingenious trick, Gilles manages to survive by inventing words of “Farsi” every day and teaching them to Koch. The unusual relationship between the two men sparks jealousy in other prisoners and particularly the SS guards towards Gilles.  And while the suspicions of Koch grow every day, Gilles understands that he will not be able to keep his secret very long.

About the filmmaker:

Vadim Perelman is a Ukrainian-born film director known for his cinematic literary adaptations. Shaped by his own immigrant experience, his debut feature film House of Sand and Fog (2003) was nominated for three Academy Awards as well as an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. His other feature films include The Life Before Her Eyes (2007) and Persian Lessons (2023), which premiered at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival and was selected as the Belarusian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards. Perelman has also directed commercials, music videos, and worked in television.

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