Film journeys

In early childhood Ben was diagnosed with a mild form of autism. His mother, who loves him dearly, is determined to help him move through the terrors of life in a high school where bullies torment him and classmates laugh at his suffering.

Ben is played with touching vulnerability by Greg Timmermans in the Belgian/Dutch film Ben X, which won the ecumenical jury award and shared the main jury award for best feature film at this year’s Montreal Film Festival.

In his first feature film, director Nic Balthazar shows a profound awareness of Ben’s condition and what is involved in an autistic boy’s perilous journey through the teen years.

After a career as a film critic and a television game and talk show host, Balthazar decided to write a book after reading about the suicide of a young man with autism and hearing the response of the boy’s mother, who said, “Nothing will ever comfort me.”

 

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