Persian Lessons AKA Урокі фарсі AKA Per
R2 - United Kingdom - Signature Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: (1st February 2021).
The Film

Inspired by true events, Persian Lessons is a powerful and harrowing story of survival from director Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog) anchored by exceptional performances.

Nazi-occupied France, 1942. Gilles (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Beats per Minute, The Intruder) is arrested by SS soldiers alongside fellow Jews and sent to a camp in Germany. He narrowly avoids sudden execution by swearing to the guards that he is not Jewish, but Persian. This lie temporarily saves him, but Gilles gets assigned a life-or-death mission: to teach Farsi to Head of Camp Koch (Lars Eidinger, Personal Shopper, High Life). As the unusual relationship between the two men begins to incite jealousy and suspicion, Gilles becomes acutely aware that one false move could expose his swindle.


A powerful beautifully written, acted and directed World War II drama albeit rather grim as befitting a concentration camp drama.

Shot digitally using Hawk V-Lite Anamorphic Lenses the image has been matted to, or presented in, the very wide CinemaScope ratio of 2.55:1 which seems an odd choice in 2020. The colour palette generally favours greys, blues and blacks and a low contrast ratio which although supportive ensures that the image has that typically muted digital appearance.

Black levels are very strong with no unintended crush. Contrast is lowkey and supportive as has already been said. The soft appearance is how this one looks and is exacerbated by being in standard def and for being on a single layered DVD5; the two hour+ film would've been bettered served by a dual layered DVD9.

PAL / MPEG-2 / 2.55:1 / 122:12


English / French / German / Italian / Persian Dolby Digital 5.1
English / French / German / Italian / Persian Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English for non-English dialogue (optional)

Skip the 2.0 track as it's basic stereo and only encoded for surround if you force it through ProLogic II (or something similar). Stick to the 5.1 which has plenty of score and ambiance in the surrounds. This isn't a full-blooded action film so the soundtrack is more about ambiance and creating a subtle atmosphere.

Subtitles are excellent and optional so if you speak any or all of the languages featured you can switch them off and enjoy the images unfettered.


Startup Trailers:
- Relic (2:18)
- Come Away (1:55)

The usual promos for upcoming releases. Nowt to see here.


Standard black DVD Keepcase.


A powerful WWII concentration camp drama gets a adequate single layered DVD release from Signature Entertainment in the UK (a dual layered presentation would've been better). Given that, the image is decent and about as good as it can be given the intended look of the production and the single layered presentstion; the greater resolution of BD or UHD BD would be a boon here. Extras are worthless. The price is right and it's a fine version of the film for the casual purchaser but cineastes will go for a foreign BD release.

The Film: B+ Video: B- Audio: B+ Extras: E Overall: C


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