Thursday Thoughts – The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

I have been to the cinema…first time since covid started. I knew there had been made a documentary of Björn Andrésen – once a young boy who was called the most beautiful boy in the world. I was his age, back then in the 70’s, and how I loved him. Like a teenager can…His face, the serenity, sensitivity and the vulnerability in his eyes. But little did I know what really happened to him, how he was used and abused.

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is a 2021 documentary film about Björn Andrésen and the effects of fame thrust upon him when he appeared in Luchino Visconti’s 1971 film, Death in Venice. The movie was built on a novel by Thomas Mann. Andrésen was just 16 when the film was released, and he was an innocent and very shy boy, totally unprepared for instantly becoming an international celebrity. So, a timely documentary theme, because these things happen – over and over again.

The title of the film came from a remark that Visconti made about Andrésen at the premiere of Death in Venice in London, and that shadow still weighs upon Björn Andrésen’s life.

Björn Andrésen wanted to be a concert pianist – not a movie star at all. Throughout the movie we hear him playing the piano, his own compositions and pieces by famous composers such as Chopin and Rachmaninov.

He had no father, and his mother committed suicide before Björn reached his teens. So, he grew up with his grandparents, and as his grandmother wanted to have a movie star grandson, she had him listed for numerous auditions…Björn was a fragile and sweet boy, so of course he did what he was told. Then came the famous Visconti, to Stockholm – and found him. The casting process was filmed, and I cried when I saw how awkward the young boy was when told to take off his clothes and pose for the film director.

Nobody seemed to notice. Nobody helped him or looked after him – and he was just a child. He had no one to turn to. How does an innocent young boy handle screaming crowds and hysterical Japanese girls – without a parent or mentor? Nobody seemed to care. He was just pushed around, trapped in a written three – year contract on his face. In the documentary he silently says, that he just wanted to be somebody else and somewhere else.

It is a deeply moving film, a tragedy, a life not taken good care of, not given a chance. Björn is still today, at 66, in my eyes, strikingly and otherworldly beautiful, but as he says himself – what has that ever done to help him with his inner demons? Years of depression and drugs, a crashed marriage and a son dead. He has a daughter though, but he feels he failed her as well. ”Nothing matters”, he says… because he has lost so much that there is nothing left to lose. A broken man, but, he has got his faith – and he wouldn’t have been here today without it.

"Fun facts" - In the documentary we go with Björn to Italy and Japan to meet, among others,  the famous manga artist Riyoko Ikeda. She is most famous for her series The Rose of Versailles. And she reveals that her drawing of the hero (Oscar Francois de Jarjayes)  is totally built on Björn Andrésen. His visit to Japan after Death in Venice started an idol worship bigger than ever, and in fact he is supposed to be the model for most of the blonde manga heroes.

Fair use. By This is a screenshot taken from an optical disc, television broadcast, web page, computer software or streaming media broadcast. Copyright Riyoko Ikeda.

I recommend you to see this movie. Not because he was a great teenage ”love” of mine and many youngsters in those days, but because it is a serenely and honestly made documentary that maintains its grip on the audience throughout the 11/2 hours. It openly shows parts of Björn’s turbulent life, but just as much as he is willing to reveal, and he is never trampled on. I feel this documentary was made with love and dignity. Thank you to the directors, Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri who made this a film to remember, and thank you Björn, for saying yes to make it come true. It is an important document of our times. May we learn something about child abuse, use and misuse, how it can destroy their whole life. Instead we must support and help our young realize their own dreams – not somebody else’s.

29 January, 2021, World Premiere, Sundance Film Festival, USA

Lens Artists Challenge #168 – Seen Better Days

Tina’s challenge this week is – Seen Better Days. Old, worn and dilapidated …yes, but I’d like to think one of the reasons to why so many of us love these things, and even take photos of them, must be because ageing is unavoidable. Things around us have all seen better days, and so have many of us. We have to accept it and find the intrinsic, inner beauty in what remains of the former glory.

Because often we can find a different beauty now. Just like deep love grows from a stormy infatuation, other values can make things shine. Shapes and colours for example.

Or, like this dilapidated shed, softly dressed in a snowy winter gown.

But – sometimes everything appears to be just a sad story…

Sad, but not without beauty, is Kyrkö Mosse – a famous car graveyard some 200 kilometers from my home. Standing silently there in the forest, even I can feel them talking to me. Someone, somewhere, once found the car of his dreams, and now that car has found its final resting place here, in the middle of nature. (All toxic parts have been taken away from the cars.)

Well, what can I say…Thank you, Still Restless Jo, for giving me the idea to this post when she read this week’s title! Jo wrote: ”Things that have seen better days? Ha! Sounds like me,” Sorry my friends, but I just could not resist the coincidence! Because today happens to be my birthday, and here I am – seen in better days. The photo on the left was taken when I met the world’s oldest blogger, Dagny, in 2017. I had just turned 60 and Dagny was 106 years old. The last photo was taken for my teacher’s ID-card, and I had just turned 50. Those were the days, and life was easier then in so many ways.

Should I reach the same age as Dagny, ( who is now 109, going on 110 – and still blogging…) my qualified guess is I would never look as bright and alert as she does…and I would certainly not be blogging.

Thank you all for the beautiful Autumn colours for Amy’s challenge last week! You offered some really sparkling and fiery entries – no wonder so many of you declared Autumn as your favourite season!

We are looking forward to seeing your posts for this challenge, and please link to Tina’s beautiful original post and use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week we are delighted to welcome I J Khanewala of Don’t Hold Your Breath as our guest host. Until then, stay well and be kind.

Thursday Thoughts – Friends

We had our yearly outing at Wanås castle, Viveka and I. Finally. This is something we look forward to every year – and even this ”lost” year,  2020, we made it happen.

 

Much of the art work and installations are the same, but each year there are new interesting artists and art on display. The forest linen and the mirror barn 2020.

These days the importance of friends is even more highlighted. What would our distanced lives be without them? And we can still visit exhibitions that are mostly outdoors.

Viveka (of Myguiltypleasures) is an inspirational and avid photographer, and her Oscar is always going warm when we are out. So, what is she photographing now?

 

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Laetiporus sulphureus – or sulphur shelf. A very beautiful species of fungus growing on tree trunks and branches.

You can easily lose sight of Viveka as she often gets lost in her photography – but there is one unmistakable sign that helps me finding her again…her bag. Her striped bag. Whose bowels contain anything needed for a day out…including Oscar.

https://www.wanaskonst.se/sv-se/ Artist: Kimsooja, South Korea

A friend to go on adventures with, a friend to chat with, and to share your thoughts with, a friend to hold your hand when you need it. Even virtually.

Thank you, Viveka, for being my friend – and Cheers – for future adventures together!

Thursday Thoughts – Happy Birthday Sweet Mum!

Photo from last year’s birthday, when you turned 84.

 

Today you turn 85, and you two have been married for 55 years! The sun is shining, and we will make it a memorable day for you – despite the difficult times we are living in.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #95 – All Wet

Tina’s challenge this week is a wet one. See her fantastic bear shots at Travels and Trifles!

My first thought for All Wet, was of Galapagos and its many water living animals. So, two of them are playing in the opener.

These are some of my favorite ”wets” – all from the archives.

A wet forest in Sweden

A hot hot day (42 degrees C) in Bilbao, Spain

A disappearing building in Barcelona

Autumn rain in my garden

I like girls who like the countryside, put on walking boots and can bend with the wind a bit. If you’re going to live with me, you need to be able to embrace the countryside and wet dogs.

 – Jay Kay

And I will end this short, wet story with my favorite dog, my first lagotto romagnolo – the legendary Mille. Why ”legendary”? Well, for eleven summers in a row, he was standing, running or walking in the sea, at our summer house, from early morning until late evening. Chasing bubbles. This was his kingdom. (From the beginning these dogs were water dogs in Romagna, Italy, but the area was drained and the dogs were taught to dig for truffles instead.) Every man and woman in our little village knew him, every tourist, every child patted him and played with him.

We lost Mille in 2014, but people out there still (2019) remember him, and tell their own memories of him. My children planned to make a statue to sit on ”his” beach, so he would forever be watching the sea. But that dream was not realized. I have had many dogs and cats in my life – but nothing and no one compares to him. Also, he was always All Wet.

Thank you for last week’s peeks at Amy’s At home – a challenged I think more than I enjoyed very much. Hope to see you next week again, for Patti’s Challenge #96.

Saturday Colours

Amidst all the grey – remembering the lost old garden

Lewisia

 

 

Silent beauties will never be forgotten…

CFFC: Summer – Fire

 

Hiking and then sitting by the fire – summer is a happy time of the year! Go to Cee for more interpretations!

On Exhibition: Carl Larsson, Our National Painter

Our little town is right now the lucky host of the only exhibition of Carl Larsson’s art outside Dalarna and Sundborn. A visit to this tiny, but exquisite, exhibition was on the menue today. Our 39th wedding anniversary.

Carl Larsson (28 May 1853 – 22 January 1919) was a Swedish painter representative of the Arts and Crafts Movement. His many paintings include oils, watercolours, and frescoes. But, when we think of Carl Larsson – we first of all think of his watercolours of his wife, children and home at Little Hyttnäs, Dalarna.

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He considered his finest work to be Midvinterblot (Midwinter Sacrifice), a large (6-by-14-metre oil painting completed in 1915) painting now displayed inside the Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts.However, this great work was at first rejected by the board of the museum, and later sold to Japan. The fresco depicts the blót of King Domalde at the Temple of Uppsala. Decades later, the painting was purchased and placed in the National Museum, on the wall it once was intended for.

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Carl Larsson was born on 28 May 1853 in the old town of Stockholm, at 78 Prästgatan. His parents were extremely poor, and his childhood was not happy. His father told the young boy that he ”cursed the day he was born”. A younger brother of Carls´ was the much loved son, but he died at an early age. Throughout his life, CL could never forget his father’s words…and…

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…with him was forever the wish for being loved. Much loved.

And he found his great love in another young artist, Karin Bergöö, whom he soon married. Together they worked in perfect harmony – he painting and she designing and working mostly with textiles. She bore him 8 children.

Through their paintings and books, Little Hyttnäs has become one of the most famous artist’s homes in the world. The artistic taste and harmony of its creators made it a major line in Swedish interior design. Despite its controversialness to the style of the time. The descendants of Carl and Karin Larsson now keep the house open for tourists each summer from May until October.