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17-year- old ASHER has always been the impulsive troublemaker, from primary school, all through junior high and high school. It's hard for him to concentrate in class, and he is compelled by a lot of rage and violence; yet he is also endowed with a considerable amount of charm and street wisdom. While his strict father sees him as a natural successor to the family's scaffolding business, Asher finds a different masculine role model in his gentle literature teacher Rami and forges a special connection with him. Torn between the two worlds, Asher looks for a chance for a new life and new identity. When a sudden tragedy occurs, he has to take the ultimate test of maturity.
"Scaffolding" (2017 release from Israel) brings the story of Ashed Lax (played by... the real-life Asher Lax--more on that later), depicted in the movie as a high school kid who also works in his dad's scaffolding business on various construction sites. Asher gets into trouble at school due to his short temperament or pent-up anger, we're not sure. One of Asher's HS teachers, a guy named Remi, takes an interest in Asher and his misfit classmates. At this point we're not even 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: at the recent screening where I saw this, the movie was introduced by Galit Roichman, an Israeli film expert (and member of the Israeli Academy). She informed us that the movie's director Matan Yair used to be a HS teacher, and the script was inspired in part by his real-life student Asher Lax. When looking to cast the movie version of Asher Lax, Yair ended up casting the real life Asher Lax, even though he is now clearly much older. Roichman provided a ton of other interesting tidbits and I couldn't wait to see the film. And then... nothing. I kept waiting for a spark to ignite the movie, but it just didn't happen. There was no rhyme or reason for Asher's attitude and lashing out, and I never connected emotionally with any of the story or the characters. What a major disappointment this movie turned out to be!
I saw the movie recently as part of the 2018 Jewish & Israeli Film Festival here in Cincinnati. Apparently "Scaffolding" picked up a bunch of awards in Israel (and perhaps elsewhere), and it baffles me. I did not enjoy the movie, sadly. Viewer beware.
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