Acclaimed Director Vadim Perelman (“House of Sand and Fog”) talks about his latest Holocaust drama “PERSIAN LESSONS” at a special screening at Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival

By Oliver Carnay

Set against a grim backdrop of forced labor and human squalor during Nazis occupation, director Vadim Perelman’s (best known for his award-winning film “House of Sand and Fog”) latest Holocaust drama “PERSIAN LESSONS,” is a powerful engrossing film about human resilience and compassion. 

Lead actor Nahuel Perez Biscayart (“Beats Per Minute”) gives a riveting performance, plays “Gille,” a Jewish Frenchman captured by the Nazis, manages to escape a death firing squad by posing as a Persian.  A commandant (Lars Eidinger), who has a dream of opening a restaurant in Tehran after the war, incidentally is looking for someone to teach him the  Persian language.  Forced to pretend to know the Persian language by changing his name to “Reza,” Gilles improvises and invents words.  Tensions are built on a daily basis, between other characters of the film, in order for Gilles to save his life.
“PERSIAN LESSONS” was part of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival held at the Laemmle Royal on June 10, 2023.  A Q&A after the special screening, attended by director Vadim Perelman and moderated by LAJFF Festival Director Hilary Helstein, in a full theatre capacity, was met with an astounding review by the audience.