By Sarah Gopaul
LOS ANGELES (Digital Journal) — A great story has the ability to attract exceptional talent who are excited to contribute in any capacity. “The Promise” was an official selection at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and is set during the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The film stars Academy Award winner Christian Bale and Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac, and is directed by Academy Award winner Terry George who also helmed “Hotel Rwanda.” And now it features a new original song by multi-Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Chris Cornell.
Cornell just released a lyric video for the song, which is now available via all streaming services and digital retailers. Notably, the artist will be donating all proceeds from the song to the International Rescue Committee, which responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises to help restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster.
The video is a mix of footage from the film that appears in semi-transparent bursts with calligraphic lyrics superimposed. The scenes are not shown in any order nor do they have direct relevance to the words being sung, though they often represent significant moments in the movie. The song itself has a heavy, melancholic tone and melody that speaks of love and loss, which is fitting of the movie’s subject matter. Michael (Isaac) goes to Constantinople to gain a formal education in medicine so he could return to his village a fully-trained doctor. While there, he becomes enchanted with an Armenian artist named Ana (Charlotte le Bon), sparking a rivalry between Michael and her American photojournalist boyfriend, Chris (Bale). But when unrest in the Empire turns into violence against ethnic minorities, they all put their petty jealousies aside in order to survive.
Said Cornell: “The film and plot are your band mates, and the song has to be true to the story and the characters in it. ‘The Promise’ to me is mainly about paying homage to those we lost in the Armenian Genocide, but it’s also about shining a light on more recent atrocities. The same methods used in the Armenian genocide were used to carry out crimes against humanity in Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda and right now in Syria on multiple fronts, contributing to a massive global refugee crisis. Unfortunately, the words ‘never again’ seem like just words when we recall these mass executions of the twentieth century, as well as renewed racism and prejudice around the world. Even in the US, the warning signs — isolating groups based on race and religion — are evident. We really need to tell these stories and keep telling them in as many different ways as we can. As humans, we have a tremendous capacity to trudge ahead in our lives and not look at the difficult and challenging moments… but I think it’s important. Educating ourselves on the past is the best way to understand the present and avoid future atrocities by understanding and intervening. We must educate and stand as one to combat this fear and violence, and as citizens of the world, work to protect each other’s human rights.”