Jean-Christophe Buisson: “How can one be Persian?”


CHRONICLE – To escape death in a camp, a young Jew invents a language to converse supposedly in Farsi with a Nazi officer. Those Persian Lessons are upsetting.

World War II again! More Nazis and Jews! Yes, but the film by American director of Russian origin Vadim Perelman is undoubtedly one of the most original and most striking on the subject for twenty years. Even the driest of hearts cannot remain unmoved before these admirable Persian Lessons (in cinemas on January 19), where we are in turn projected into tragic contemporary history, ancient theater and Hegelian philosophy.

The starting point is extraordinary. A rabbi’s son rounded up in a French town escapes summary execution by pretending to be Persian. How can you be Persian? By pretending that we speak the language. Exactly. An SS captain who dreams of one day joining his brother in Tehran wants to learn Farsi. In the German labor camp where he works, Captain Koch receives the young man (magnificent Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, revealed in 120 beats per minute ). Suspicious, he asks her for a few…

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