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The Kindergarten Teacher (Haganenet) (NR)

Drama 120 min. July 31, 2015
By Sherilyn Connelly
In Nadav Lapid's grim formalistic experiment The Kindergarten Teacher, Nira (Sarit Larry), the teacher in question, has a pleasant but humdrum life in Israel and aspirations to be a poet. She becomes intrigued by one of her students, the personality-free five-year-old Yoav (Avi Shnaidman) -- apropos of nothing, he occasionally declares, "I have a poem," paces back and forth, and recites verses about subjects far beyond his years. (The poems are no great shakes by themselves, but something might be lost in translation from Hebrew.)

Nira is appalled to learn that Yoav's nanny (Ester Rada) is reciting his poems at auditions — which doesn't stop Nira from presenting them as her own in her writing group — and that Yoav's father, Amnon (Yehezkel Lazarov), wants his son to give up the whole namby-pamby poetry business. She takes increasingly desperate measures to protect Yoav from the uncaring world, whether the boy wants her to or not. The panning camera occasionally intrudes on the space of the characters, and the film includes copious amounts of nudity and sex (none involving the boy, for the record). But in the end, it's a cautionary tale about caring too much, which is a rather depressing thing to be cautioned about.
Nadav Lapid Sarit Larry, Avi Shnaidman, Lior Raz, Hamuchtar, Ester Rada, Guy Oren, Yehezkel Lazarov, Dan Toren, Avishag Kahalani Nadav Lapid Talia Kleinhendler, Osnat Handelsman-Keren, Carole Scotta Kino Lorber Films

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