Vadim Perelman | Drama | Belarus, Germany, Russia, 2020 | French, German w/English subtitles | 127m | PG-13

In-Person Screening: Saturday, March 26 | 6:10 pm | AMC
Virtual Screening: Monday, March 28 – Sunday, April 10

Film: A Belgian Jewish prisoner narrowly escapes execution at a WWII Nazi internment camp by pretending to be Persian, but his lie begins to unravel when an SS officer demands to be taught the Persian language. From the director of the Academy Award-nominated HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG.

Event: Celebrate SJFF’s first in-person Opening Night in three years with the three-time Academy Award nominated director of THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG, Vadim Perelman (see bio below). He will join us to introduce the film and discuss his illustrious career—Q&A after the film. In addition, we will serve Persian Desserts to-go after the show (gluten-free option available). Details >>

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Full Film Details:
Gilles, a young Belgian man fleeing to Switzerland, is arrested in France by the SS alongside other Jews 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 Klaus Koch (Lars Eidinger of “Babylon Berlin” and “Sense8”), the savage-tempered officer in charge of the camp’s kitchen who dreams of opening a restaurant in Iran when the war is over. Gilles finds himself having to invent a language he doesn’t know, word by word, to survive. 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 deception. From the director of the four-time Academy Award-nominated film, THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG (2003), PERSIAN LESSONS is a beautiful homage to the many Holocaust survivors who persevered, resisted, and preserved their culture with nothing but wits and resourcefulness to aid them.

“Director Vadim Perelman treads a fine line between history and invention in this Holocaust survival tale, whose power comes from its two lead performances.” – “Variety”

Director Bio:
Vadim Perelman made his directorial debut in 2003 with THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG. The film, starring Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley, was nominated for three Academy Awards and was his first screenplay credit. His second feature, THE LIFE BEFORE HER EYES, starred Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood. He also established himself as an innovative director of commercials (his clients included Microsoft, Panasonic, Nike, and Coors) as well as award-winning music videos.  View on IMDB.

Community Partner

Holocaust Center for Humanity

Lead Sponsors

Loeb FamilySamis 500x2504 culture

Thank you to all of our sponsors: view here >>.