Trigger warning: This article mentions suicide and ephebophilia.
Google will tell you this about Björn Andrésen: He’s a 65-year-old Swedish actor. In “Midsommar,” he was the elder who failed to die by suicide as per cult tradition (to which the villagers angrily bashed his face to death).
Before that, he was launched into stardom as the young Tadzio of “Death in Venice” and he was pretty much a teen idol especially in Japan. His face inspired so many bishounen in manga.
What many may not know was the dark side behind all that fame and the innocence lost because of it. A documentary about Andrésen’s adolescence premiered at the virtual Sundance Film Festival this year, and it’s unsettling, NGL.
“The Most Beautiful Boy In The World” follows the Swedish actor’s life since “Death in Venice” director Luchino Visconti declared him as such.
“This is the story of a boy who was thrust to international stardom for his iconic looks and lived a life of glamour. Fifty years later, Björn looks back,” reads the film’s description.
The docu will switch between archival footage from the ’70s and Andrésen in the present opening up about his experiences as a young celebrity that distorted much of his childhood. People admired him, used him as their muse and celebrated his beauty, only for this fixation to take a toll on him.
It was a “living nightmare,” as Andrésen put it, recounting how he was exploited then. “I was a sex object, big game. I descended into depression and alcohol,” he recounted in the trailer.
It’s no surprise, especially with the sexual undertones of his “Death in Venice” audition clip: a 15-year-old boy told to pose for pictures in only his boxers, with literal adults around him talking about what part of his almost naked body to photograph.
The film premiered at the virtual Sundance on Jan. 29 and was even nominated for the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the festival. Jury Films has yet to add future playdates, but here’s to hoping we can catch this docu again in the future.
Still from “The Most Beautiful Boy In The World” trailer