Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

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[REVIEW] Solomon and Gaenor

In my review of Brokeback Mountain, I cited the Welsh-language S4C movie Solomon and Gaemor. When I caught it sometime in the first part of 2000 at Charlottetown's City Cinema with erins_pub and london_calling, as part of our Shakespearean history plays class. The film is set in the mining valleys of South Wales in 1911, as Jews fled the Russian Empire in the hopes of better and safer lives and as the increasingly class-conscious Welsh working class began to organize against exploitation in the mines. starring Ioan Gruffudd plays Solomon, son of a traditional Jewish family trying to make a living as peddlers in the bleak cityscape, while Nia Roberts is Gaenor, daughter in a religiously conservative and politically conscious mining family. Gaenor meets Solomon at the door of her home when he's playing the role of a door-to-door salesman, and they fall in love. One would have hoped that, perhaps, their love and their family's common experience of suffering would have been enough to ratify their love, but things don't work out that way, not at all. Solomon and Gaenor is a wonderful story of tragic love, made all the more unique by the fact that it's filmed almost entirely in the Welsh language. Everyone likes a good sob story, it seems, and the high production values and generally convincing acting make this film, like Brokeback Mountain, a better than average sob story.
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