The movie

Persian Lessons

Gilles a young Jewish Belgian man, is arrested by the SS, to avoid execution he swears to be Persian, then Gilles is assigned a seemingly untenable mission: to teach Farsi to German officer Koch.

Length: 127 min
Country: Belarus, Duitsland, Russische Republiek
Language spoken: Duits, Frans, Italiaans, 'Farsi'
Language subtitles: Nederlands
Cast: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Lars Eidinger, Jonas Nay
Director: Vadim Perelman
Release date: 2020


Occupied Europe, 1942: Gilles (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), a Jew from Antwerp, is arrested by SS soldiers and sent to a camp in Germany. He narrowly escapes execution by pretending to be Iranian instead of Jewish. When camp Commandant Koch (Lars Eidinger), a chef with a dream of opening a Persian restaurant, learns he has a Farsi-speaking prisoner, he demands that Gilles—who knows not a word of Farsi—give him language lessons. Gilles invents new \"Persian\" words every day, which he has to memorize by an ingenious trick. Koch's suspicions grow, however, and Gilles realizes he won't be able to keep this secret forever... Vadim Perelman’s taut psychological drama packs an emotional punch in its final stages that will leave you reeling. ‘A hugely compelling, highly original Holocaust drama… Argentinian actor Nahuel Perez Biscayart is quite brilliant in the central role as Gilles… The story is so well told and the performances so strong (especially Biscayart's) that I found myself completely invested in Gilles, his deception and his fate.’—Brian Viner, The Daily Mail