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NAMUR 2017

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Son of Ben: Fragile marginality

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- Guérin van de Vorst's debut feature film is a sensitive and striking portrait of a lost young man becoming a father

Son of Ben: Fragile marginality
Vincent Rottiers in Son of Ben

Guérin van de Vorst presented his first feature film, Son of Ben, at Namur Festival last night, a sensitive and striking portrait of Ben, a fragile and marginalised ex-convict who tries to find his place in the world by becoming a father. 

After three years in prison, Ben wants to reconnect with his son and find his place in society. After being released from prison he tracks down Anouar, a childhood friend, who welcomes him in as a brother and offers him a job at his garage. While Ben has lived his life behind bars, Anouar’s has blossomed, he got married, became a father, got his own company up and running... Ben soon feels like an alien when faced with so many accomplishments. All the more so because he too would like to become a father, but his attempts to make contact with his son, who is unaware of his time spent in prison, prove to be unsuccessful due to the mother's reluctance and the sheer distance of his son. Completely lost in a new life that is both too large and too restrictive, Ben finds an attentive ear in Jo and Mustapha. Perhaps a little too attentive. Little by little, Ben's appetite for religion veers towards radicalism. When praying with his companions, he finds a family that he has been denied elsewhere. From rehabilitation work to petty recidivism, from sincere friendships to fundamentalist temptation, Ben must fight to resist hatred and regain his dignity as a free man.

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In the role of Ben is Vincent Rottiers, a man with few words but a lot of the film's intensity on his shoulders. The film demands a dense and magnetic performance from the actor embodying this young man who must tackle his inner demons, and who is marginalised by a society that doesn’t make room for those in need, all while becoming a father. Often cropping up in Belgian films, particularly in Last Winter [+see also:
trailer
interview: John Shank
film profile
]
, La Marche [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Nabil Ben Yadir
film profile
]
or The World Belongs to Us [+see also:
trailer
interview: Stephan Streker
film profile
]
, Rottiers once again imposes his presence in both a central and demanding role. Opposite him is Sebastien Houbani, already incredible in A Wedding [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Stephan Streker
film profile
]
, playing the character of Anouar, and Walid Afkir. Salomé Richard embodies a rare bubble of lightness, projecting some potential hope in the darkness of Ben's daily life. Son of Ben takes place in Brussels, along the canal, a physical limit between two worlds, that of the pen-pushers and those who remain hidden, a majestic Brussels fractured by this canal, a territorial and sociological border.

Son of Ben was produced by Wrong Men, which, in just a few years, has demonstrated a real know-how in the accompaniment of young promising directors towards their debut feature. Let us not forget, of course, Prejudice [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Antoine Cuypers
film profile
]
by Antoine Cuypers, or Parasol [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Valery Rosier. Wrong Men also has extensive experience with international co-productions (Pilgrimage [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Wrong Elements [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) and is set to produce the latest films by Rachel Lang and Laurent Micheli.

Son of Ben was co-produced in France by Chevaldeuxtrois, with support from the Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and screen.brussels. Sold internationally by Loco Films, the film is due to be released on Belgian screens at the end of 2017/early 2018.

(Translated from French)

See also

Warsaw
EPI Distribution
LIM
 

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