Discovery

Scaffolding

Matan Yair

Scaffolding 01

Torn between the teachings of his charismatic literature teacher and the expectations of his brash, workman father, 17-year-old Asher must decide what sort of man he will become, in Matan Yair’s feature debut.

As part of the TIFF Speaker Series, scholar Janice Gross Stein will join the filmmaker for an extended conversation at the second public screening.

Seventeen-year-old Asher (Asher Lax) is a young man on the brink of some important decisions. He's about to do exams to graduate high school, an accomplishment even more worthy of praise as his significant behavioural issues — anger and lack of impulse control — have mandated attendance in a special-needs stream. His father, Milo (compellingly played by Yaacov Cohen), trivializes formal education and expects Asher to ultimately take over his scaffolding company.

Asher's dedication to his father is shaken as the boy becomes increasingly intrigued by the ideas of his literature teacher in school, a thoughtful, gentle man named Rami. The teacher uses literature to provoke the students into expressing their feelings, and everyone in the class develops a fierce affection for Rami. When a sudden tragedy separates Asher from his beloved mentor, he experiences a major crisis that contrasts the two dominant male figures in his life. Asher must decide what sort of man he will become.

Shot in the small city of Herzliya just north of Tel Aviv, this feature from director Matan Yair — himself a teacher who based the film on his own years of experience — conveys with piercing insight the complex challenges facing this young man. But it is Asher Lax as Asher who brings a brisk, often explosive vitality to the screen, insisting we engage with his remarkable spirit.

JANE SCHOETTLE

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