Songs of Solomon purports to be a partial biography of Solomon Solomonian, an orphan whose beautiful voice attracted the attention of church authorities and led to his formal musical education. Known as Komitas, he created the first collection of Armenian and Kurdish folk songs, and became Armenia’s most famous composer.

Although the film does center around Komitas, it is really about his (fictional) childhood friends, two little girls, Sono, an Armenian, and Sevil, who is Turkish. When Solomon goes away at age 12, Sono and Sevil miss him, but they get on with their lives, marry and remain friends.

But then comes the Turkish massacre of Armenians and other Christians. No, not the famous genocide that began in 1915, but an earlier one in 1894-1896, in which the Turks, ruled by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, massacred an estimated 200,000 Armenians.

In Songs of Solomon, these killings and other atrocities are shown in upsetting images. Sevil’s husband, played by director Arman Nshanian, warns Sevil to stop associating with Sono and other Armenians because “something bad is going to happen to them.” But it is too late. Still, Sevil is able to carry out a promise she has made to Sono.