Persian Lessons

Directed by Vadim Perelman
Theatrical Release Date June 09, 2023
Run Time 127 min

Occupied France, 1942. Gilles (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) 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, as one of the soldiers’ superior officers is “looking for a Persian,” and has promised additional rations to the soldier who delivers.

Gilles is then assigned a literal life-or-death mission: to teach Farsi to Head of Camp Koch (Lars Eidinger), 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. Meanwhile Koch’s suspicions grow every day, and Gilles struggles with the unfairness of his privileges compared to his fellow prisoners, while fighting to maintain his secret and survive.

Undeniably powerful.” -Variety

“A powerhouse premise and strong performances.” -48Hills

“[Persian Lessons] floored me in the devastating final moments.” -The Guardian

Name Role
Vadim Perelman Director
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart Gilles
Lars Eidinger Klaus Koch
Jonas Nay Max
David Schütter Paul
Alexander Beyer Camp Commandant
Andreas Hofer Adjutant von Dewitz
Country Belarus
Languages German, Farsi, French, Italian, English
Subtitles Yes
Run time 127 min
Year Completed 2020
Press Notes