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The tropes are familiar: a talented but troubled working class teen; a domineering and unsupportive father; an earnest teacher who tries to save his pupil. Scaffolding subverts coming-of-age genre expectations, refusing to sermonize or provide easy answers. Asher, a sensitive teen, struggles to graduate high school. His father sees little point in Asher’s graduating if his only real prospect is to inherit the family construction business. Rami is a melancholic literature professor who takes on students that the aloof school administrators have written off. He alone has a real understanding of their needs and the willingness to meet them where they are. Tragedy strikes and leaves Asher groping for answers.
Writer/director Matan Yair, a high school teacher himself, wrote and cast the part of Asher for a former student. He writes of his lead actor, “I felt fear in response to his brutality and lack of limits, compassionate warmth because of his difficulties in reading, jealousy because of his unfettered ability to follow his impulses and desires. In spite of all differences, I was also aware that there was something important we had in common.” In this common ground Scaffolding finds its ruthless authenticity. The film is a thoughtful and nuanced meditation on the voids the people we love leave in our lives. —Hannibal Cook
Matan Yair is a filmmaker, an author and a high school history and literature teacher. He's a graduate of the screenwriting program at the prestigious Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem, as well as of the MFA directing program at Tel Aviv University. Matan's literary and artistic work derives from his personal experiences and biography. His documentary film It is written in your I.D. that I am your Father (2008) describes a process of growing intimacy between himself and his father, Mordechai, who left home when he was thirteen. The film participated in Haifa International Film Festival's competitive section as well as other film festivals. Matan's drama Unseen focuses on his experience working as a teacher in a class for kids who were rejected from the regular school system. In 2009, Matan published his first novel, which is built as a diary of a teenager who documents one dramatic year of his adolescence. The novel was awarded from the National Library of Israel, described by the jury as a groundbreaking work. Scaffolding is his first feature film.