"Powerful Exposé of Hate"
What You Need To Know:
SONGS OF SOLOMON is another great, well-made, well-structured movie like THE PROMISE showing the Ottoman exterminations of the Armenians. It doesn’t have the big budget of THE PROMISE, a MOVIEGUIDE® Award winner, but it does have a more coherent plot and appears to be totally authentic in its creation of 1890s Armenia. Although there’s violence in the movie, blood and gore isn’t shown. The music is wonderful, the acting is powerful. MOVIEGUIDE® commends SONGS OF SOLOMON for teenagers and adults, but advises caution for younger children because of the movie’s violent themes and actions.
SONGS OF SOLOMON is a powerful, captivating drama about an orphaned Armenian Christian boy, Solomon Komitas, who grows up to be known as the savior of Armenian music and the founder and creator of ethno-musicology. SONGS OF SOLOMON is set during one of the periods of the Ottoman genocide against Armenians and has tremendous acting, jeopardy and direction, with a “you are there” feel.
SONGS OF SOLOMON opens just before the first Turkish massacres of Armenians at a time when the Turks and the Armenians got along. It tells the story of a Turkish girl, Sevil, who is close friends with an Armenian girl, Sono. Both befriend an orphaned boy named Solomon. As a young boy, Solomon is captivated by the music all around him in the small mixed Armenian and Turkish village. The two girls confront him for listening to their music lesson, but he sings for them to appease the , and his singing is so beautiful that an Armenian archbishop realizes Solomon has a gift from God.
When some Turkish boys bully Solomon, he goes back discouraged to his grandmother, his mother and father having died. She tells Solomon that God has given him a gift and has a wonderful plan for his life. She also tells him never to lose faith in God. Soon thereafter, the archbishop says he has a once in a lifetime chance of going to seminary because they’re looking for a young boy with a great voice.
At the tryouts for seminary, Solomon gets distracted by a farmer outside singing an Armenian tune. The music teacher gets angry at him and says he’s not doing his lessons, but he says he already knows the hymnal. The music teacher calls him a liar. The archbishop tells the teacher to let Solomon sing the hymnals. He does so beautifully.
Thirteen years later, Sevil, his childhood friend, gets married. Her husband, Osman, says she should not associate with the Armenians because something very bad is going to happen to them and anyone who associates with them. Soon, both Sono, the Armenian girl, and Sevil, being married, are pregnant.
One day in the marketplace, a Turkish colonel and his two officers start harassing the Armenian shopkeepers. Sono’s husband, Sarkas, is the painter of beautiful pots and the colonel mocks him and drops a pot that Sarkas has been working on for a while. Saros says the Turks should learn how to create culture instead of just destroying it. The colonel destroys his whole little booth in the marketplace.
Soon, the government calls for the extermination of the Armenians, starting the hamadas massacres in 1894. The colonel goes to Sarkas and Sono’s house, arrests Sarkas, and he is hung in the square. The mayor tells the colonel at the secret meeting of the Turkish army that the Turks and Armenians have always lived in peace. The mayor refuses to sign the pledge to exterminate the Armenians. Soon, the Turkish army strangles the mayor.
Sono goes to Sevil as Osman’s house to have her baby. Soon after the childbirth, the colonel shows up, says there must be a rat in Sono’s home, finds Sono and kills her and kills Osman.
Years later, Solomon is giving a concert to Armenians and Turks. The Turkish general has set up the concert to trap and kill the Armenians and their sympathizers. Solomon is arrested and eventually all the Armenian intellectuals are arrested and executed.
SONGS OF SOLOMON is another great, well-made, well-structured movie like THE PROMISE showing the Ottoman exterminations of the Armenians. It doesn’t have the big budget of THE PROMISE, a MOVIEGUIDE® Award winner, but it does have a more coherent plot and appears to be totally authentic in its creation of 1890s Armenia. Although there’s violence in the movie, blood and gore isn’t shown. So, it is reminiscent of movies from the 1950s and 60s. The powerful friendships between Sevil, Sono and Solomon show that not everyone was on the side of the extermination of the Armenians. Even though Solomon was arrested, he is still credited today with being the savior of Armenian music and the creator and collector of ethno-musicology. The music is wonderful, the acting is powerful. MOVIEGUIDE® commends SONGS OF SOLOMON for teenagers and adults, but gives a caution for younger children because of the movie’s violent violent themes and actions.