Quick fame and a mighty crash.
From "The Hitchhiker with the Ax" (Photo: Netflix)
Virality of characters on the net is a strange thing.
In November 2020 Prisilia Keshti was released from Neve Tirzah Prison after serving a prison sentence of about a year and a half for the charge of running over and neglecting the death of David Mizrahi, who was 82 years old at the time of his death.
Kashti, a network star with more than a hundred thousand followers on Instagram, left the prison walls straight into a luxurious limousine sent to her by her family members in a move that received extensive coverage in all the media.
What sounds fantastic to us and to you, did not surprise those who followed her during her imprisonment: they were not exposed to a glimpse of life behind bars, and instead got to see posts and stories that show luxurious vacations, expensive clothes and entertainment.
Kashti, who didn't stop to help the elderly man she ran over, and turned herself in only after 40 minutes, made sure there was someone who would continue to operate her Instagram account even when she was in prison.
Surprisingly, all these not only did not harm her status as a network star - but even strengthened it to a considerable extent.
In 2013, seven years before Kashti was released from prison and thousands of miles away, in Fresno California, a homeless young man named Kai became a viral phenomenon under even more disturbing circumstances.
Kai's name first hit the headlines after he was involved in a hit-and-run and attempted murder, in which an African-American man and two women were attacked.
It happened while Kai, homeless or as he called himself "Home Free" (free from home) caught a ride with a driver who behaved suspiciously, identified himself as Jesus and spoke in a racist manner.
After the driver deliberately hit the man, he got out of the vehicle and started attacking two women.
So Kai took an ax and hit the driver on the head three times - which apparently stopped him from killing those women.
Apparently Kai's act would not have crossed the borders of the local news, had it not been for a video interview he gave to a reporter named Jacob Reisback.
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What does this story say about us?
From "The Hitchhiker with the Ax" (Photo: Netflix)
Reisbeck, a journalist with excellent instincts, recognized the potential in the passer-by who became the hero of the moment.
Kai had a steely hippie talk, a bandana that held long puffy hair and a captivating smile.
The moment in the interview in which he described how he took the ax and hit the attacking driver three times in the head - "Smash! Smash! Smash!"
- went viral and made Kai an overnight star, with a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's Tonight Show and an offer for a reality series starring the Kardashians.
What made Kai's story one that warrants a docu-film is the fact that just three months from the day it came to light - he found himself wanted for questioning for the brutal murder of a 75-year-old man. "("The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker") re-examines the story of Kai, or as his real name is Caleb Lawrence, through conversations with the media people who helped make him a star, family members and also police investigators who tried to track him down in real time.
Shooting stars are nothing new (and I'm not talking about the ones in the sky).
Both the Israeli and the American entertainment industry are full of stories about stars who arrived overnight from Igra Rama to Bira Amikata.
You don't have to go too far to find examples.
These cases always receive extensive coverage and leave us speechless, when they are usually stars whose careers we accompany for many years, cheer for them, see them grow and then get disappointed or happy when they fall on their faces.
In the case of network stars like Kai, the very speed with which they go from being completely unknown to those every company wants to pay them millions to advertise their products, and then fall back down - makes this dichotomous situation even more extreme.
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To the full article
Looking back, "The Hitchhiker with the Ax" shows us that Kai's transition from hero and star to killer is not really surprising.
After all, even the moment that made it viral involved hitting another person with an axe.
The truth is that the media and the people who consume it did not want to see the early signs in Kai's behavior, our obsessive search for new heroes to admire often makes us ignore all the signs that appeared on the feed.
Since Kai turned from a cultural hero to a prisoner - and now with the movie maybe a cultural hero again - the world of the stars of the network and the craze around them only got more and more extreme.
Today, with the enormous success of Tiktok, every user with tens of thousands of followers becomes a star who picks up campaigns and receives requests for selfies with children on the street - but what do we really know about these people we are so quick to admire?
Despite the specificity of his story, Kai Lawrence can be a good lesson for all of us and a lesson in casting doubts on the heroes we are quick to crown.
As a film, "The Hitchhiker with the Axe" provides a fast-paced and emotionally wrenching journey about how quickly love turns to hate, and the danger that