A mythic love story set in a timeless, lavishly colorful and mystical Jerusalem, this film is a modern-day reworking of the Yiddish folk tale and S. Ansky's Yiddish theatre classic. The biggest production in the history of Israeli cinema incorporates hard rock, striking set design, computer-generated imagery and modern-day tensions between the secular and the Orthodox worlds. Hanan, a handsome young traveler - who has pierced ears and wears grungy flannel shirts - falls in love with Lea, the beautiful daughter of a leader in the religious community. Unbeknownst to the couple, a deal was struck, years earlier, in which they were promised to each other by their fathers. The father of the boy has since passed away. Hanan is seized by hallucinogenic visions of a Holy Apple Field that convince him his love for Leah is the embodiment of perfect spiritual union. Because he is a secular Jew and poor, he is shunned by Leah's father. Hanan consults with a master of Kabbala, a set of mysteriously forbidden eleventh-century texts and unleashes untold powers, merging the erotic with the divine, affirming love's infinite potential to transcend all obstacles. The lovers are played by Yehezkel Lazarov and Ayelet Z'urer, two of Israel's most talented young actors, who also star in the extremely popular Israel television show FLORENTENE.
Director, writer, and producer Joseph (Yossi) Somer was born in 1956 in Haifa, Israel. Following his service as a combat paramedic in the Israel Defense Forces (1974 - 1977), Somer entered the world of cinema serving initially as props man but quickly advancing to Art Director and participating in 16 films (mainly features and commercials). In 1981, Somer moved to England to attend the London International Film School where he studied under director Charles Crichton ("A Fish Called Wanda").
Since his return to Israel in 1984, Yossi Somer has been a prominent figure in the Israeli film industry. He has written, produced and directed several films, most notably: "Glass Angles," an independent documentary on the Shelling School for the mentally handicapped; "Battle Fatigue," an award winning educational film commissioned by the IDF Medical Corps.; "Figures and Etudes," a dance video commissioned by the Tel Aviv Museum. He has additionally worked on numerous video clips and television programs including "Don't Light Me a Candle," considered a milestone in Israeli music clips.
In 1989, Somer gained international recognition with his award winning feature film debut of Burning Memory. Fostered under the encouragement and guidance of Fred Zinnemann, "Burning Memory" undauntedly dispelled the myth surrounding the macho Israeli soldier. He was also credited for his unusual but powerful choice of Norwegian jazz musician Jan Garbarek to create the original soundtrack.
Yossi Somer continues to confront the cultural taboos within society in his most current film projects:
• The Dybbuk of the Holy Apple Field
a feature film based on the haunting story by Anski of passion and mysticism.
• Shanghai - X
where the top agents of all nations meet lavish parties, one woman is on a hunt for a con man that hides a chest with all she has to know. A thriller set in Shanghai, early 40s (in development).
• Next Project
a hundred year old story that begins its fantastical cinematic journey in 1999 - New York city, and is accompanied by a hip soundtrack. A joint venture together with Limor Diamant, an independent LA producer.