Persian Lessons

OCOpen Caption screening
Additional program content
SFSensory Friendly. Details HERE

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Poster for the film PERSIAN LESSONS

Persian Lessons

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.

A 2021 Jewish Film Festival Selection

JBFC Members: Get a Passport stamp for France when you see Persian Lessons!

“A hugely compelling, highly original Holocaust drama.”
Brian Viner, Daily Mail
“A big widescreen cinematic ride which deftly mixes suspense, laughter, and tears.”
Lee Marsh, Screen Daily


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