Benny’s Gym 2007
25min | Short, Drama, Family | 15 February 2007 (Germany)
Alfred gets bullied. Benny is a bully. Through a series of events they become friends, but Benny keeps their friendship a secret. Benny wants to teach Alfred to hit back. But after an accident, it turns out maybe Alfred also has something to teach Benny.
Perhaps aggression is inherent to every human being, it’s an intrinsic desire of hurting others by no other reason than the opportunity to do so. Alfred is a teenager ostracized by other kids, he gets bullied all the time by Benny and his friends, who beat him up and pee on his notebook. Why is it that these youngsters experience such joy by torturing a defenseless boy? The boys attend the same high school but no education system can prevent what goes on here. Why? Because there is an education that pertains to the norm, to the word (id est, the reality); but there is always something else, something deep that cannot be channeled through the word (id est, the real). It’s often thought that the first one is more than enough for the educative system and that’s a blatant mistake. The teacher and the board cannot connect with the student. Reason –rationality- is not enough to deal with the pre-rational magma that governs our impulses and prevents us from becoming what we want to be, even if we don’t know what that is.
When Benny is alone and spends time with Alfred, he is a different lad. The high school bully shares his secrets, his fears and hopes with the unpopular kid. It’s no surprise that certain familial dynamics can create a vicious circle (of poverty, of violence, etc.), Benny’s violent father physically punishes his son, not unlike the way Benny does it with other kids in school. An outlandish bond takes place between them. Perhaps, together, isolated from the world and society, from reality, they gain access to the real, that place in which desire is born.
In high school, Benny keeps ignoring Alfred, but when they’re together everything is different. One night, Benny suggests that he could have sexual intercourse with Alfred, and kisses him passionately. Alfred acts surprised but had been longing for such a moment since day one. Nevertheless desire cannot guarantee a safe-conduct through adolescence… and soon, Benny’s abusive friends savagely take it out on Alfred, they even try to drown him in the lake. Benny is a witness to all that, but he finds himself exscinded. Should he attempt to rescue his friend he would expose himself before the eyes of the others. But then, the possibility of losing Alfred forever is more than he can bear.
This Norwegian short film about abuse and marginality demonstrates that youth’s problems are the same everywhere in the globe, and that as a society we’re failing to keep things balanced. Our focus, as usual, goes to reality and not to the Lacanian real.
Director: Lisa Marie Gamlem
Writer: Lisa Marie Gamlem (screenplay)
Stars: Atdhe Belegu, Kim Erik Tena Eriksen, Johannes Sejersted Bødtker
Release Date: 15 February 2007 (Germany)
Also Known As: Benny’s Gym