Synopsis Sony Pictures Classics
Solomon and Gaenor
 
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Set in the Welsh Valleys around 1911, SOLOMON & GAENOR tells the moving and ultimately tragic story of the love between a Welsh girl and a Jewish boy. Gaenor (Nia Roberts) comes from a Welsh mining family, who are regular chapel-goers.

Her father, Idris (WilliamThomas) and elder brother, Crad (Mark Lewis Jones) both work down in the mines, while Gaenor helps her mother (Sue Jones Davies) with the endless round of backbreaking domestic tasks. Solomon's parents, Isaac (David Horovitch) and Rezl (Maureen Lipman) are Orthodox Jews who run a pawnshop cum drapery, with Isaac making ends meet by serving the local valleys as a pacman. Whilst Solomon (Ioan Gruffudd) is out selling cottons door-to-door for his father he meets Gaenor.

They are immediately attracted to one another, although Gaenor is initially shy and nervous. Solomon begins to call regularly at Gaenor's house during his rounds and gives her a beautiful cotton dress which he has made for her. Solomon, however, conceals his Jewish identity from Gaenor--he tells her that his name is Sam Livingstone.

Soon, they become lovers. Solomon is invited to tea with Gaenor's family, where Idris quizzes him about his background and his ambitions. Solomon and Gaenor start to meet at a stable, where they make love, and where she reveals that she was once engaged to a miner until he became maimed in an accident.

Solomon maintains the pretence that he is English and keeps Gaenor away from his family. She comes to doubt his intentions. Gaenor's whole world then collapses when she is denounced in chapel by her intended, Noah (Steffan Rhodri), for 'being with child and for fornicating with a stranger.' An enraged Idris wants her to marry Solomon, but in her pride she refuses to see him again. She is forced to remain at home. Solomon keeps watch from a hillside overlooking Gaenor's house, hoping for a glimpse of the one he loves. Friends of Crad beat Solomon up, yet still he returns at night to speak to Gaenor and discovers that she is pregnant.

Gaenor decides to track down 'Sam's' home. She locates the pawnshop and discovers his Jewish identity. A distraught Solomon explains that he would have been disowned by his family if he had brought home a Welsh girl. They decide to run away together.

But this is a time of industrial unrest and racial tension in the mining village. That night looters ransack Isaac's shop in an anti-Semitic attack. Solomon's escape is thwarted by Isaac and he is sent away to Cardiff, whilst Gaenor is dispatched to her aunt's cottage in the countryside to give birth. The two lovers are further apart than ever.

Solomon refuses to give up on Gaenor. He comes back to the village and is beaten savagely by Crad, as he tries to find out Gaenor's whereabouts. Bleeding and slowly deteriorating, he staggers over the mountains and through the snow to the farm where Gaenor is staying. They are reunited.