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.
Our team is back and we wish you welcome to 2021. This New Year comes with much hope for the future. Maybe more than ever –
It was as if the land opened its lips and breathed again, and was made anew. ― Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Our “Favorite Images of the Year ” challenge will be a bit different – as this whole year, 2020, has been different. No visits to foreign lands or faraway places. Instead it opens for images that tell something of our own journey for 2020. For me, this year meant living in my bubble, struggling to stay reasonably sane. So much less camera…and so much less energy – but still, here’s my year through lens and sense.
I begin with my absolute favourite image for 2020 – the broken window with wine leaves and the last rays of sun. From here I will travel backwards in time, down to when it all started, somewhere in January/February.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. —Lao Tzu
In September my mother left us. Unexpectedly and unforeseen. And Autumn darkness at the door. After the funeral I went from feeling low to feeling exhausted and powerless. No recharging at hand. Even on our hikes I seldom brought my camera.
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – Khalil Gibran
In the sandy soil of southwestern Skåne…you will find the most beautiful of spring flowers – the Pasqueflower. Only about 7 centimeters high, but abundant here. It felt comforting to lie down and touch the earth, knowing it is still there…
A lovely winter’s morning before the world changed… before everything we knew as normal was … gone.
In retrospect, I realize I have made more images than I knew of… despite this invisible invader and its impact on all our lives. Now we can only wish the vaccine will help us come back to easier and brighter days. The wiser. The first thing I would do… is go to a café for a nice cup of coffee and a tasty piece of cake – and quietly sit down to watch smiling people passing by.
We are excited to announce that next week’s challenge will be guest hosted by Slow Shutter Speed’s Anne Sandler. Do stop by her blog this week to see her beautiful photography and don’t miss her post next Saturday at noon EST.
May 2021 bring peace, health, and happy moments to us all. We look forward to seeing Your favorite images of 2020 and understanding why you’ve chosen them. Please link them to Tina’s original post, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. As always, we greatly appreciate your continued support of our challenge and the inventive creativity of your responses.
Amy is hosting this week, and she says: ”This week, as we are approaching the end of 2020, let us share some of the precious moments we have had, before or during the pandemic.”
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? – Mary Oliver
So, my images are all from before the pandemic – when planning was possible.
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. – Marcus Aurelius
The most precious resource we have is time. – Adam Neumann
Life is short, and every moment is precious. – Gad Saad
We invite you to share your own precious moments, from traveling, holidays or with family and friends. Include a link to Amy’s post here and use the lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader. We look forward to seeing your creative work.
Special thanks to Patti for her inspirational “Subjects That Begin with the Letter A.” Marvelous!
Finally – stay tuned for December 19, when I, Leya, will be your host. Until then, be safe and well.
I was born and raised in a tiny village, consisting of about 15 houses situated on a ridge above the school house. Here I spent every day of my first 12 years, climbing and running, strolling and roaming the farm land, meadows and forests. I had a happy childhood.
This is the gate I climbed every day – or, this might be a newer one, but it still looks the same to me… There are huge stones in the meadow above, and we used to bring buns and milk to feast on when we had finished climbing and settled on top of the highest one. To us they were mountains – but in reality, boulders from the ice age, left here when the ice moved away.
First of all – thank you for so many inventive, creative and fun interpretations of last week’s challenge – Pick a Word! Fabulous!
Rusha Sams of Oh the Places We See is our host this week, and she has chosen to highlight all those people who work for a better society and a better world. A Labor of Love.
As so many of us do these days, I think of the health care workers, police and firefighters – all those brave people helping us in this unruly world. But my thoughts also go to all those who work for a sustainable world and helping vulnerable species to survive – because biodiversity is essential to us all. Without biodiversity we will all perish and our planet is lost. Even if we are living in a pandemic now, we know that other problems will not go away – we have to fight them all, simultaneously. Tough. But, the pandemic is also a result of how humans have abused and misused Nature and our only home, planet Earth.
In the header, the dotterel beach in Coromandel.
In 2016 we went to Ecuador, the Amazon Basin and the Galapagos Islands. Threatened already then by the oil industry and new settlers burning down the rainforest, but little did we know of the many fires that would arrive through mismanagement and the pandemic.
A vast piece of jungle was once bought by a man from the Netherlands who wanted to save it from getting destroyed. We stayed at his eco-lodge with local people guiding and lecturing about herb medicine and Amazon plants and animals. These people were born and raised here, lived here and knew the jungle like the back of their hand.
”We hope you’ll join us in sharing your interpretations of “A Labor of Love” whether you showcase a person or a group or an object notable for the labor or laborer involved.” Publish your post and add your link to the Comments section at the bottom of Rusha’s post. Please don’t forget to add the tag Lens-Artists so you can be found in the Reader.
Next week we will be back on schedule, and Amy will be our host for challenge #114. Until then – stay well and be kind. To yourself as well.