Yesterday I stumbled upon a short film produced by 3 Cows Entertainment – Czechoslovakia. The film dealt with the ongoing discussion about video games and the influence they have on the minds of their young players. Many of them spend more time in front of the computer shooting the next Zombie, or going on a secret spy mission, instead of hanging out with their friends and spending more time outside.
The film’s main protagonist is a young teenage boy who is addicted to video games and hard core music. He immensely enjoys the virtual reality into which he slips every time he has a chance. One day he loses a sense of reality and fantasy and goes out determined that he can, in reality, be just as strong and “clever” as the virtual people he encounters in the games. From this moment on, the film becomes a realistic account of a boy whose psyche is negatively influenced and he goes out killing – real people with flesh and blood.
The hand-held camera approach, powerful hardcore soundtrack and excellent editing give this film an almost documentary feel and, unlike some of the surreal shorts I have seen lately, P.E.Z. gives you the chills as you realize that the boy (playaed byPhilip Falcník) could be the kid next door.
P.E.Z has a lot of violence in its 21 minutes – yet the point that it makes is an important one. It’s debatable if such films should be seen by youngsters. While they are filled with violence and likely to get an R rating across the world – they show the dangers of mixing virtual reality and the real world better than any class debate at school.
The film can be described as coming of age gone wrong, as the viewer observes how various factors such as music, games, isolation and bullying influence and shape the character of the main protagonist. There are various cases around the world in which this story is transferred to real tragic events and happenings. Games such as the shoot-’em-up title Doom, a game licensed by the U.S. military to train soldiers to effectively kill, are often blamed for incidents such as are portrayed in the film.
Note : The film is in Czechoslovakian, but the pieces of dialogue are short and you can watch it without having subtitles.