A Jewish prisoner survives a WWII Nazi internment camp by pretending to be Persian, but his lie begins to unravel when an officer demands to be taught the Persian language.
Gilles (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, PFF26‘s BPM), a Belgiam Jewish man fleeing to Switzerland, is captured in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. Thrown into a wagon of Jewish captives, he’s immediately marked for death, but narrowly escapes execution by claiming Persian origins. Luckily, a serendipitous encounter has left Gilles with a book of Persian fables, which he’s able to produce to strengthen his claims. Though doubtful, the soldiers bring him to their Nazi transit camp leader, Officer Koch (Lars Eidinger, PFF29’s MY LITTLE SISTER), who has promised extra rations to soldiers delivering a Persian-speaking detainee. By assuming the identity of the book’s former owner, Gilles successfully deceives Officer Koch, who spares Gilles’s life because he wants to learn Persian. While Gilles concocts a pseudo language, he witnesses his heritage be destroyed as countless Jewish prisoners are transported through the camp. The constant threat of discovery intensifies when SS comrades resent the odd relationship and grow suspicious of Koch’s developing attachment. PERSIAN LESSONS tells the story of a man using wit and circumstance to survive. It’s a beautiful homage to the many Holocaust survivors who persevered, resisted, and preserved their culture with nothing but their resourcefulness to aid them.
CAST: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Lars Eidinger, Jonas Nay, Leonie Benesch
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