Inspired by his own experiences teaching, Matan Yair’s Cannes-bound “Scaffolding” follows an already fraught familial relationship that’s strained by the addition of a gentle new role model, one who shows his teenage student the full scope of the possibilities of being a man.
Debuting in the ACID section later this week, Yair’s feature springs from a very personal place. As the filmmaker explains in the film’s official press kit, “For the past nine years, I have been teaching literature in high school…Almost without exception, these kids are from working class backgrounds.”
He continued, “For years I tried to believe that the lessons might be able to inspire the students to read, to love literature and to find its beauty. However, I was haunted by the more likely outcome: that when high school ended, so would their experience of literature; this would be the only time in their lives that they would be reading poems, short stories, plays and novels.”
Yair was eager to work out his emotions and fears; naturally, he turned to writing.
“I needed to write something in order to cultivate hope, to believe again that my work had a purpose, that important connections can be forged in class, that the texts we read can have a lasting impact. I began to sketch the outlines of a story in my mind,” he said. “During that same period, I met a new student, Asher. I was intrigued by him and felt, immediately, that he would be a fascinating character because he evoked such strong and varied emotional responses in me.”
Asher became the center of what would become “Scaffolding.”
Per the film’s official synopsis, “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” will have its world premiere in Cannes on Saturday, May 20 in ACID. Check out our exclusive trailer below.