Persian Lessons

Dir. Vadim Perelman |
Narrative Belarus, Germany, Russia 2021
EnglishFrenchGermanItalianPersian with English Subtitles

Opening Night Film of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Persian Lessons is easily the pick: it’s a hugely compelling, highly original Holocaust drama” -Daily Mail

Gilles, a young Jewish Belgian man, is arrested in 1942 by the SS and sent to a concentration camp in Germany. He narrowly avoids execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian.

This lie temporarily saves him, but then Gilles is assigned a seemingly untenable mission: to teach Persian to Koch, the officer in charge of the camp’s kitchen, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Persia (Iran) once the war is over.

Gilles finds himself having to invent a language he doesn’t know, word by word. As the unusual relationship between the two men begins to incite jealousy and suspicion, Gilles becomes acutely aware that one false move could expose his swindle. Directed by Vadim Perelman (House Of Sand And Fog).


Wednesday, October 207:00 PM Cafritz Hall


  • Director Vadim Perelman creates a skillfully unfussy period style, avoiding genre clich├ęs to focus on characters who are finely brought to life by an excellent cast." Shadows on The Wall
  • Persian Lessons is easily the pick: it's a hugely compelling, highly original Holocaust drama.Daily Mail

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Oded Horowitz