Burning Memory

Gary is a young, moody combat veteran who survives the war in Lebanon but returns to Israel plagued by nightmares of his experiences. In group therapy at a rehabilitation center, he works with a sensitive and resourceful therapist and an ensemble of veterans that includes an artist who has lost faith in Zionism, an observant Jew who withdraws into prayer after being a POW, and an unhinged officer prone to violent outbursts. But there are deeper causes for Gary's suffering. This powerful and completely authentic film courageously explores the inner life of Gary and others like him who live on the edge. A gripping psychological drama and political allegory, and a remarkable anti-war film. 1989 Berlin Film Festival.
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.
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