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''Solomon and Gaenor'' is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). SOLOMON AND GAENOR Written and directed by Paul Morrison; in English, Welsh and Yiddish, with English subtitles; director of photography, Nina Kellgren; edited by Kant Pan; music by Ilona Sekacz; production designer, Hayden Pearce; produced by Sheryl Crown; released by Sony Pictures Classics.
Wales at the turn of the century (or any other time for that matter) is not the most obvious place for contemporary cinema to tread but then again, Morrison's debut is not an obvious love story. Solomon (Gruffudd), the son of Orthodox Jewish shopkeepers, meets Gaenor (Roberts) daughter of bible-bashing mining stock, while trading in her valley.
Tells the story of the Morgans, a close, hard-working Welsh family at the turn of the twentieth century in the South Wales coalfield at the heart of the South Wales Valleys.The moment the star-crossed title characters in Paul Morrison's somber love story ''Solomon and Gaenor'' set eyes on each other, your heart sinks.It is immediately obvious there is nowhere for these young lovers to travel but down an awfully familiar path from clandestine ecstasy to pariahhood to tragedy that could take any of three final twists, all equally predictable.The most emotionally harrowing scenes show the pregnant Gaenor's brutal denunciation and expulsion from church when her pregnancy is revealed during a service, and Solomon's rapidly crumbling relationship with Gaenor's loutish older brother, Crad (Mark Lewis Jones), who is suspicious of the young stranger from the start because of his uncallused hands. Gruffudd, whose Solomon becomes obsessed with Gaenor only after she has rejected him. Roberts (making her debut) who walks off with the film.Her understated, beautifully layered performance suggests the spark of defiance under Gaenor's prim exterior and fans it into a reckless impul siveness that eventually deepens into an enfolding womanly passion containing just a touch of fanaticism. WITH: Ioan Gruffudd (Solomon), Nia Roberts (Gaenor), Sue Jones Davies (Gwen), William Thomas (Idris), Mark Lewis Jones (Crad), Maureen Lipman (Rezl), David Horovitch (Isaac) and Bethan Ellis Owen (Brownwen).