Ben X

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Not to be confused with Ben 10.
Ben X
Ben x poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nic Balthazar
Produced by Peter Bouckaert
Screenplay by Nic Balthazar
Based on Nothing Was All He Said 
by Nic Balthazar
Starring Greg Timmermans
Laura Verlinden
Marijke Pinoy
Music by Praga Khan
Arno
Cinematography Lou Berghmans
Edited by Philippe Ravoet
Production
company
MMG Film
Release dates
  • 26 September 2007 (2007-09-26) (Belgium)
  • 8 November 2007 (2007-11-08) (Netherlands)
Running time
93 minutes[1]
Country Belgium
Netherlands
Language Dutch
Budget 1.5 million[2]
US$2 million
Box office US$2,744,414[3]

Ben X is a 2007 Belgian-Dutch drama film based on the novel Nothing Was All He Said by Nic Balthazar, who also directed the film.[4] The film is about a boy with Asperger syndrome (played by Greg Timmermans) who retreats into the fantasy world of the MMORPG ArchLord to escape bullying. The film's title is a reference to the leet version of the Dutch phrase "(ik) ben niks", meaning "(I) am nothing".

The novel was inspired by the true story of a boy with autism who committed suicide because of bullying.[5]

The film won three awards at the 31st Montreal World Film Festival: the Grand Prix des Amériques, the Prix du Public for the most popular film, and the Ecumenical Jury Prize for its exploration of ethical and social values. The film was the Belgian entry for the Academy Awards 2007 in the category Best Foreign Language Film but failed to receive the actual nomination.

Plot[edit]

Teenage Ben is frequently bullied at school. To escape his harsh reality, he turns to a virtual world by playing an online game, ArchLord. In the game, he is a confident and brave hero. Moreover, he collaborates his adventures with another online user known in-game as Scarlite.

One day, Ben is being bullied again. During the class break, the bullies drag Ben on top of a table and pull his pants down, while classmates record the incident on their phones. With cruel remarks and teasing from his classmates, Ben becomes so humiliated and frustrated that he smashes the window with a chair. Ben is immediately sent to the headmaster's office, where the headmaster asks Ben to explain the incident. Ben, however, does not speak at all, leaving the issue unresolved. After that scene, it's revealed that Ben has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. Things gets worse for Ben as the class incident gets posted on the internet. Feeling distraught about his life in general, Ben is even ready to leave his virtual world behind, where he tells Scarlite that he is ready to "endgame". Concerned, Scarlite sends a video message to Ben X (as Scarlite has no idea what Ben looks like) saying that there cannot be an endgame, unless there is a healer. Scarlite then tells Ben to meet her at the train station.

At the train station, Ben sees Scarlite, but does not go to her. Scarlite, assuming that Ben did not show up at all, goes to the train. Ben follows Scarlite onto the train and sits next to her, feeling nervous and excited at the same time. Just as the train approaches Brussels, Scarlite asks Ben (in French) if he is all right. Ben does not reply and goes off, leaving Scarlite behind. Having not talked to Scarlite, Ben was contemplating suicide by jumping off the platform. As Ben was ready to jump, he is pulled back and it's revealed that it's Scarlite who did so. She later tells Ben that he can choose to either give up and take his own life or take revenge and fight, just like he would in Archlord. But, to make the decision, he needs to devise a plan.

Ben (with Scarlite) asks his parents to help. He has decided to commit suicide by jumping off the ferry. He does so, and captures the suicide on tape. Afterwards, a funeral was held for Ben, with everybody, including the bullies being present. As the funeral went on, the video then changes to Ben and his speech (which seems like a suicide note video). In the video, the bullies are exposed (as well as the classmates involved) of what they have done to Ben that day of the incident. Then, to everyone's shock, it was revealed that Ben is alive, by his shadow seen over the video and Ben being seen from the projecting room. It turns out that Ben had chosen to take revenge on the bullies by faking his own suicide. It was revealed that as he jumped off the ferry, his parents had caught him at the lower deck, as part of the plan.

Afterwards, Ben, Scarlite, his mother, and his brother are at a horse ranch in the country. The horse instructor shows Ben how to be friendly with the horse and tells him that "You must learn to feel, in order to feel good". Ben touches the horse gently, just as the instructor told him and feels happy. Ben then goes to Scarlite and talks to her. The horse instructor looks baffled, as it is revealed that Ben is actually talking to himself. Ben's mother then tells the horse instructor that everything is fine and Ben is happy.

Cast[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Group Award Winner/Nominee Won
Istanbul International Film Festival Fipresci Prize Nic Balthazar Yes
Montréal World Film Festival Grand Prix des Amériques Nic Balthazar Yes
Most Popular Film
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BEN X (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  2. ^ "Ben X (2007) - Box office / business". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  3. ^ Ben X at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ "Film "Ben X" wins in Montreal". flandersnews.be. 4 September 2007. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "Nic Balthazar maakt theaterstuk en film over jongeren en pesten". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). 16 January 2005. Archived from the original on 23 July 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 

External links[edit]