After the last post from Around the World, I was hoping for a more upbeat story but having just rented Soloman & Gaenor, I should have guessed from the title (and synopsis) that things wouldn't end well. Nothing usually does with 'star crossed loves'.
Set in South Wales on 1911 in a small mining town. There are continous issues with the mines, with strikes and talks going on throughout. Solomon (Ioan Guffudd) is an Orthodox Jew who hides his ethnicity when he sells fabrics door to door. hi family own a shop in the small town and tend to keep to their own comminuty which is subject to abuse. Soloman meets and falls in love with Gaenor (Nia Roberts) who has a strict father and openly anti-Semitic brother. Soloman struggles to keep his love a secret from his family and his family a secret from Gaenor. When she discovers she is pregnant, she is publically disgraced in her church.
Released back in the late 90s, the BAFTA winning film was also nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category but it lost out to Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother. Tough year. The film was actually film in both English and Welsh. I think I saw the English version with a bit of Welsh and Hebrew too.
The story is familiar, two lovers who want to be together by their opposing families and beliefs keep them apart. But in this story, they keep secrets from each other. Solomon keeps his family a secret and in turn keeps Gaenor a secret from them. She later, thinking he doesn't love her, keeps her pregnancy a secret from him until it becomes too much to bear. As with all these stories, there is a feeling of tragedy in the air from the start but the gentle courtship and growing feelings between Solomon and Gaenor makes you desperately hope for a happier ending or at least a satisfying close.