Cohen Media will release Persian Lessons (Persischstunden), the World War II drama based on the story “Erfingdung Einer Sprache” by Wolfgang Kohlhasse, and starring Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Lars Eidinger, Jonas Nay, Alexander Beyer, Luisa-Cèline Gaffron, David Schütter.
The film was selected as the Belarusian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards but was disqualified by the Academy, due to the primary language spoken in the film is not the official language of the submitting country, Belarus.
Directed by Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog), Persian Lessons world premiered at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, and will be released in theaters in the US opening June 9, 2023 in New York and Los Angeles, followed by a national release.
Occupied France, 1942. Gilles (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) is arrested by SS soldiers alongside other Jews and sent to a camp in Germany. En route to the camp, he narrowly avoids sudden execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian. This lie temporarily saves him, as one of the soldiers’ superior officers is “looking for a Persian”, and has promised additional rations to the soldier who delivers.
Gilles is then assigned a literal life-or-death mission: to teach Farsi to Head of Camp Koch (Lars Eidinger), who dreams of opening a restaurant in Iran once the war is over.
Through an ingenious trick, Gilles manages to survive by inventing words of “Farsi” every day and teaching them to Koch. The unusual relationship between the two men sparks jealousy in other prisoners and particularly the SS guards towards Gilles. Meanwhile Koch’s suspicions grow every day, and Gilles struggles with the unfairness of his privileges compared to his fellow prisoners, while fighting to maintain his secret and survive.
Watch the official trailer for Persian Lessons.