March 18 – 29
At Tower City
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Country: BELGIUM, NETHERLANDS
Run Time: 93 minutes
Ben is a hero in his own mind. There he is not the student who is bullied mercilessly at his vocational school. Nor is he the person who can't feel emotions like other people or talk about the things they talk about. Ben is autistic. He moves awkwardly and barely speaks, but his senses of sight and hearing are painfully acute. Relief from the misery of school comes when he escapes into his virtual world of Archlord, an online game bearing more than a passing resemblance to World of Warcraft. There, he finds a kindred spirit– a girl known as Scarlite– who encourages him and heals his agonized soul. Ben's long-suffering mother and other ineffectual adults talk excessively about ways to help the disturbed young man, but it's apparent that something in him is about to explode. The more his tormentors abuse him in real life, the more Archlord steels himself for the final battle. Much of the film takes place inside Ben's head, as director Nic Balthazar takes us via flashbacks to Ben's youth, then returns to the painful present. BEN X is a visually astonishing fusion of Ben's virtual and real worlds. (In Dutch with subtitles) – B.B.
Peter Bouckaert, Erwin Provoost
Greg Timmermans, Laura Verlinden, Marijke Pinoy, Pol Goossen, Titus De Voogdt
Nic Balthazar was born in 1964 in Ghent, Belgium. In addition to directing, he is a famous TV and radio personality in Belgium. He is also well-known for his environmental activism.
BEN X (2007) – 31st CIFF, "Time of My Life" (2012)