Vadim Perelman

Russia, Germany, Belarus, 2020 / 127 min / German OV with German subt. / Drama, History

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021 – Public Screening


To escape his execution, a Jewish prisoner lies about his origins and teaches a fictitious language to an SS officer. 

1942. Gilles, a young Belgian man, is arrested by the SS alongside other Jews and sent to a German concentration camp. He narrowly avoids execution by telling 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 Farsi to Koch, the officer in charge of the camp’s kitchen, who dreams of opening his own restaurant in 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.

“Filmmaker Vadim Perelman directs this gripping drama with a slick, assured hand. Persian Lessons achieves that rare feat of maintaining a fine balance between a respectful account of the horrors of the Shoah, and a sense of irony that may be one of the keys to surviving such madness.” Berlinale 2020

Fri 29/01 20:00 Ciné Orion, Troisvierges | DE OV with DE subt. Public
Fri 29/01 20:15 Ciné Sura, Echternach | DE OV with DE subt. Public
Sat 30/01 19:30 Kulturhuef-Kino, Grevenmacher | DE OV with DE subt. Public
Sat 30/01 20:00 Prabbeli, Wiltz | DE OV with DE subt. Public
Mon 01/02 19:30 Ciné Scala, Diekirch | DE OV with DE subt. Public
Wed 03/02 19:00 CNA - Ciné Starlight, Dudelange | DE OV with DE subt. Public

“Perelman has succeeded in making a very watchable tale with World War II as a backdrop. The set, based on the Natzweiler-Struthof camp, situated in the Northeast of France, is packed with plenty of period detail. It's a place where Jews get processed before being sent somewhere else far more deadly. […] Perelman has done an excellent job, especially as the bookends of the film, designed to reinforce the emphasis on the need for memory and reporting, manage to complement and give more power to the outrageous central conceit.” Kaleem Aftab, Cineuropa, 03/03/2020

  • Golden Ark for the Best Film, Transatlantyk Festival Łódź, 2020 (Poland)
  • José Salcedo Award for Best Editing, Valladolid International Film Festival, 2020 (Spain)
Cast & Credits
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Lars Eidinger, Jonas Nay, Leonie Benesch, Alexander Beyer, David Schütter, Luisa-Céline Gaffron, Guiseppe Schillaci, Antonin Chalon, Mehdi Rahim-Silvioli
based on the novella "Die Erfindung einer Sprache" by Wolfgang Kohlhaase
Vladislav Opelyants
Boris Voyt
Dmitry Tatarnikov
Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine
Hype Film, LM Media, One Two Films, Belarusfilm

Vadim Perelman is a Ukrainian-born Canadian-American film director. After directing commercials and music videos – including Kelly Clarkson’s “Because Of You” – he made his feature film directorial debut in 2003 with House of Sand and Fog. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and marked Vadim Perelman’s first screenplay credit. In 2007 he directed The Life Before Her Eyes with Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood, followed by Yolki 5 (2016), Buy Me (2018) and Persian Lessons (2020), his fifth feature film. Vadim Perelman also directed multiple episodes of the Russian TV series Izmeny and Pepel.

  • 2020 – Persischstunden
  • 2018 – Kupi menya
  • 2016 – Yolki 5
  • 2015 – Izmeny (16 épisodes de la série TV)
  • 2013 – Pepel (13 épisodes de la série TV)
  • 2007 – The Life Before Her Eyes
  • 2005 – House of Sand and Fog