Review: Persian Lessons

Persians lessons is not about teaching Farsi. This holocaust drama about a Belgian Jew who invents a fake “Farsi” language after he pretends to be Persian in order to avoid extermination at a concentration camp. Inspired by true events and based on the story “Erfindung einer Sprache” by Wolfgang Kohlhaase, the filmis directed by Ukraine-born Canadian filmmaker Vadim Perelman(triple Oscar nominee House of Sand and Fog). 

Since debuting at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival, the film has won a slew of awards. The year is 1942, and among those herded into a transport heading to Germany from Nazi-occupied France, is Gilles (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) a rabbi’s son from Antwerp who is persuaded by a hungry passenger to trade his sandwich for an old book that belonged to his landlord. Written in Persian, the book will prove to be a literal lifesaver for Gilles, who manages to stave off certain execution by claiming to be not a Jew but a Persian named Reza Joon — the name that had been inscribed in its pages by Joon’s father.

The film has a few twits and turns. It shows the brutally of Nazi hate towards Jews and their sense of superiority. It draws the audience into a time during a brutal war of survival against the Nazi regime. It’s story of deception and intrigue and most of all saving lives.

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