Memento Films Intl. (“Call Me By Your Name”) has come on board “Persian Lessons,” a drama directed by “House of Sand and Fog” helmer Vadim Perelman.
Set in Occupied France in 1942, “Persian Lessons” toplines Nahuel Perez Biscayart as Gilles, a man who is arrested by the SS alongside other Jews and sent to a concentration camp in Germany. He narrowly avoids execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian. He is then enlisted to teach Farsi to the head of the camp played by German star Lars Eidinger, who dreams of opening a restaurant in Iran once the war is over. The particular relationship between the two men sparks the jealousy of other prisoners and SS guards, threatening Gilles, who understands that he will not be able to keep his secret very long.
Memento will launch “Persian Lessons” sales at the European Film Market this week.
Perez Biscayart is best-known for his breakthrough performance in Robin Campillo’s “BPM (Beats Per Minute”), which competed at Cannes and won the Grand Jury Prize. Eidinger has recently starred in “Babylon Berlin,” as well as Edward Berger’s “All My Loving,” which is world-premiering in the Berlinale’s Panorama section.
Shot mainly in German and French, “Persian Lessons” is produced by Russia’s Hype Film, Germany’s LM Media and One Two Films. Producers are Ilya Stewart, Murad Osmann, Pavel Buria, Timur Bekmambetov, Sol Bondy and Jamila Wenske. The film is now in post production.
“Vadim Perelman has had an incredible career and we are excited to be collaborating with a director with a such a strong vision and unique voice, and with such vast international experience,” said Stewart from Hype Film.
Stewart said “Persian Lessons” was a “thrilling journey which started with a fantastic script with an original approach to a sensitive subject, and also a very personal one for Perelman.” The producer pointed out that the project also attracted a “stellar cast who worked incredibly hard to deliver very authentic performances.”
Alamode will distribute the film in Germany.