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Sunday, March 13, 2016

HAGANENET / THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER (2012)

Well-received film from Israeli writer/director Nadav Lapid touches a nerve, but underserves its intriguing story. It’s a prodigy tale, not of math, music or chess, not even spelling, but of a 5-yr-old poet. With a disinterested nanny and a father too busy at his restaurant to appreciate his pint-sized wonder, it’s left to a hands-on kindergarten teacher to cultivate his overlooked art. But the depth of the boy, and the abrupt nature of his spontaneous composition, unsettles her, particularly as she’s on the cusp of her empty-nester years. Bored & too comfortable with a loving teddy-bear of a husband, she drifts helplessly as interest & nurturing in her little prodigy overheat into dangerous obsession. A marvelous idea, but Lapid is one of those filmmakers who lives to put a foot wrong with every character arc & story turn. Particularly so in the melodramatic plunge that passes for a third act; managing to do too much and not enough. He also does himself no favors handling the child like one of those grave little alien children from the old British horror pic VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED/’60. Or in leading lady, Sarit Larry. As kindergarten teacher/delusional surrogate mother, she's one of those Black Hole actors who not only lack any screen energy but manage to suck it out of everyone around them.*

ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: *Well-known practitioners of Black Hole Enervation Syndrome (BHES) include Jason Patric, John Shea and most Super Heroes out of costume.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: As mentioned above; a great excuse to rewatch VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED.

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