The Promise is a 2016 American historical drama movie. The film was directed by Terry George. Many famous actors and actresses took part in it, including Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, and Charlotte Le Bon. The premier of Armenian Genocide themed movie called “The Promise” was on September 11, 2016. The Promise is about the Armenian Genocide and tells about the love story that was developed before the beginning of Genocide. The main purpose of the movie is to bring attention to the history, not make money. Kirk Kerkorian was the movie investor. Thus he didn’t economize money and spend dollars to the deliver the history to the people.
Plot of “The Promise” Movie
The Promise is about a love in the time of Armenian Genocide. It is a love triangle between an Armenian medical student called Michael, Chris, a Paris-based American journalist, and Ana who is an Armenian-born woman raised in France.
A leading actor Michael (Oscar Isaac) is an apothecary. He lives in the small Armenian village, in the southeast part of the Ottoman Empire. He wants to study medicine so he promises himself to the daughter of an affluent neighborhood. For that, he receives 400 gold coins as a dowry. By this money, he travels to Constantinople and attends the Imperial Medical Academy.
In the medical school, Michael befriends a kind young boy named Emre. Emre is the son of a high-level Turkish official. In Constantinople, the leading actor meets his wealthy uncle. During his visit, he also meets there a young beautiful lady, Ana (Charlotte Le Bon). Ann is an Armenian woman raised in Paris. She is the dance teacher of Michael uncle daughters. Ana is the girlfriend of an American reporter called Chris Myers (Christian Bale).
During his stay, Michael falls in love with Ana. And these feelings are mutual. Soon World War I begins. Michael temporarily manages to avoid enlistment for armed forces through a medical student exemption. So he avoids it only with the help of his friend Emre. Shortly afterward they put his uncle in jail. Michael tries to save him from imprisonment during the roundups of April 24, 1915. His efforts are in vain because they imprison him too and sent to a prison labor camp.
Fortunately, Michael runs from the camp. He returns to his village. So he notices that Turks have violently turned on their Armenian fellow townspeople. Michael’s parents persuade him to marry a girl named Maral (Angela Sarafyan) with whom he was engaged. After marriage, they seek refuge in a remote mountain cabin. They live there and soon his wife Maral becomes pregnant. A pregnancy passes very hard so Mikael brings his wife back to his home where he takes care of her in the village. In the time of their arrival, Michael learns that Ana and Christopher are at a nearby Red Cross facility. Thus he goes to seek their help. He wanted them to help his family to escape the cruel Turkish people.
Michel finds Ana. Ana is too happy to see him as Michael’s mother lies her telling that Michael is dead. She cries a lot by seeing him but soon she learns that Michael is married and his wife is pregnant. Ana and his boyfriend gather a group of orphans, they want to take them away from the village. But when they know about Michael’s story they return back to Sirun village to retrieve Mikael’s family.
Along the way, they meet a group of a massacre. Shortly afterward it becomes clear that the Turkish troops killed all of Sirun village’s inhabitants. Among the dead people, Michael also finds his family members including his pregnant wife. Turkish troops killed her too, they torn her uterus and killed the baby. Only Michael mother saved though she has many wounds.
Soon Ottoman troops capture Chris and sent back to Constantinople. They charge Chris for being a spy and slated for execution by authorities. However, the government releases and allow departing for Malta. Chris only escapes from the execution with the help of Emre, and through the intercession of American Ambassador Henry Morgenthau. But when Chris boards the French cruiser Guichen, he convinces the captain to set sail along the Ottoman coast. Soon Turkish governments fusillade Emre for helping a reporter, Chris Myers to release from the prison.
Mikael, Ana, and the orphans escape from pursuit. They join a large group of refugees determined to fight off the Ottoman army on Musa Dagh. Later the enemy attack on their place and Michael’s mother Marta succumbs to her wounds. Michael buries Marta (Shohreh Aghdashloo)on the mountain. Soon the Guichen comes to their rescue. The refugees hold on long enough to escape on the back side to the coast. When they return to the ship, a Turkish artillery bombardment throws Ana and Yeva. Yeva is the young daughter of Michael’s uncle. Seeing this Michael jumps into the water after them. Michael only is able to rescue Yeva. And Ann drowns in the sea.
When Michael is already on the ship with Yeva, Chris Myers asks Michael where is Ana. Michael starts crying so Chris understands that she died and cries too. These two men lost a woman whom they love. As the movie goes on, Michael tells that he adopted Yeva. Together they settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. in 1942 Yeva gets married. In the wedding, there are Armenian orphans who have now grown up. Michael presides over a toast. He wishes good fortune to their families and the generations to come.
- Oscar Isaac – Mikael
- Charlotte Le Bon – Ana
- Christian Bale – Chris Myers
- Daniel Giménez-Cacho – Father Andreasian
- Shohreh Aghdashloo – Marta
- Rade Šerbedžija – Stephan
- Abel Folk – Harut
- Andrew Tarbet – Pastor Merril
- Angela Sarafyan – Maral
- Armin Amiri – Captain Ali
Production & Release
The Promise movie story was based on an unproduced screenplay. The Screenplay titled Anatolia by Robin Swicord. However, Terry George completely rewrote the screenplay. Swicord told Terry kept the half of the story.
Terry invented the Christian Bale character. He also changed the other characters. Swicord had a medical student in his screenplay, but he was different from the one in The Promise.The shooting of the movie began in autumn 2015. They do filming in Portugal, Malta, and Spain. The team did reshoots took in New York in May and June 2016.
American businessman of Armenian origin Kirk Kerkorian donated the total budget of “the Promise” movie. Serj Tankian is the author of the soundtrack for the Armenian Genocide themed movie “The Promise”. The performer of this song is Serj’s friend, a famous musician, and singer, Chris Cornell.
The premiere of “The Promise” was at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on September 2016. Shortly after, Open Road Films acquired distribution rights to the film. It set a release date, which was April 21, 2017.
The Real History to Know Before Watching “The Promise”
The movie is the dramatization of a story that takes place amid the slaughter of Armenian citizens by the Ottoman Empire coincides with the annual day of remembrance in Armenia on April 24.
The Ottoman government ruled by “Three Pashas,” They made a plan to eliminate the Armenian population. According to The University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, there were about 2.1 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire in 1914. In 1915, hundreds of Armenian intellectuals were arrested. Thus they deported 235 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders. The majority of these people were murdered. But it was only the start of what’s widely known as the Armenian genocide or Armenian Holocaust.
During the Genocide Ottoman government killed 1.5 million Armenians. The Armenian genocide was made during and after World War I. In fact, it had two phases. Thus in the first phase, they did the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population by subjection of army conscripts to forced labor. In the second stage, they deported women, children into the Syrian Desert where they were subjected to periodic robbery, torture, massacre or rape. So they were deprived of food and water.
The Motives of The Genocide by Historians and its Recognition
According to historians, the governments targeted genocidal policy, particularly to Christian ethnic groups.Thus most Armenian Diaspora communities around the world came into being as a get the direct result of the genocide. After the Holocaust Armenian Genocide was the second most-studied case of genocide. Scholars mention that it was one of the first modern genocides. So they did it in an organized manner during which Ottoman government eliminated the Armenians.
Up to the present time, Armenian people try to get Turkey and other countries around the world — to recognize the massive killings of Armenian citizens as genocide. But the other part says that these mass killings took place amid a larger World War I context, that’s why they can’t qualify it as genocide. Thus the descendants of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish people deny this story and renounce genocide as an accurate term. Up to the present day, 29 countries and 47 U.S. states have officially recognized those mass killings as genocide.
The Hash Tag of the Movie
One of the goals of “The Promise” movie is to support human rights by helping educate young people about genocide. They want all learn from the past in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes because without acknowledging the truth, history is doomed to repeat itself. Kirk Kerkorian donated a budget for the movie with the hope that it would open people’s eyes to a forgotten, yet crucially important, piece of history. So for continuing that mission, you must share the hash tag #KeepThePromise with your friends! Many Famous people like George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Terry George, Christian Bale, Chris Cornell, Barbara Streisand, Serj Tankian, Kim Kardashian, Gavin Newsom, Oscar Isaac, Ryan Gosling, Cher, Arsinee Khanjian, Atom Egoyan, Elton John, Dean Cain, Samantha Power, Heidi Klum and others already did it.
You can create a Hash Tag right now by writing I vow to #KeepThePromise.
I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia. – William Saroyan –
What we all must do is to Remember, Remand and Vow to Keep The Promise!