Type of media Film
Approved Running time 93m 10s
Release date 29/08/2008
BBFCInsight Contains bullying and suicide theme
Director(s) Nic Balthazar
Cast includes Titus De Voogdt, Pol Goossen, Maarten Claeyssens, Johan Heldenbergh, Jakob Beks, Peter De Graef, Tania Van der Sanden
Cut This work was passed uncut.
BBFCinsight publication date 19/08/2008
Note: The following text may contain spoilers
BEN X is a Flemish film about a teenage boy with autism who finds himself hounded by school bullies. To escape their violence he retreats into a world of online gaming, where far from being victimised he is a great warrior able to beat any opponent. He is joined in the game by an alluring female character called 'Scarlite' who also contacts him in the real world through e-mail. As she arranges for them to meet, Ben finds his situation with the bullies worsening until drastic measures appear necessary.
The film was classified '15' for a bullying and suicide theme. Ben is mercilessly bullied throughout the film by two teenage schoolboys, who in one sequence not only beat him but also force feed him an ecstasy tablet.
In relation to the suicide theme in the film, Ben's mental state progressively worsens before he finally tries to fight back. At one point he holds a shard of glass from a shattered mirror above his wrist, which he feels a strong compulsion to cut. We see blood on his other hand as he's been gripping it so tightly, and he likens the blood to the "beautiful" blood seen in a video game. Ben's girlfriend Scarlite also discusses various methods of suicide with him, including hanging and poison.
At '15', the BBFC Guidelines state that 'dangerous techniques (eg combat techniques, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on imitable detail'. Also, 'drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse'. In the case of BEN X, the film does not portray suicide as being pain free and handles the subject with considerable sensitivity. The scene where Ben is forced to take a drug is certainly not glamorised and shows the audience just how victimised he has become by his tormentors.
In other respects the film is also contained at '15' with infrequent moderate sex references, video game clips depicting spurts of blood when fantastical enemies are stabbed with a sword, and an aggressive use of "f**k off" as well as repeated instances of "faggot" or "faggots" (as directed by the bullies towards Ben).
- Momentum Theatrical
- Classified date(s)
- Main language
- Submitted run time
- 93m 10s
- Approved footage
- BBFC reference
- Registration number