Sweden

Synopsis

In 1970, filmmaker Luchino Visconti travelled throughout Europe looking for the perfect boy to personify absolute beauty in his adaptation for the screen of Thomas Mann’s "Death in Venice". In Stockholm, he discovered Björn Andrésen, a shy 15-year-old teenager, who he brought to international fame overnight and led to spend a short but intense part of his turbulent youth between the Lido in Venice, London, the Cannes Film Festival and the so distant Japan. Fifty years after the premiere of DEATH IN VENICE, Björn takes us on a remarkable journey made of personal memories, cinematographic history, stardust and tragic events in what could be the last attempt for him to finally get his life back on track.

Director's Statement

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD is a story about obsession with beauty, about desire and sacrifice, about a boy whose life was changed forever when the film director Luchino Visconti declared him to be the “World’s most beautiful boy.

”Who was this boy and what happened to him? This is the story of a film that destroyed someone's life. It is also a story of family secrets, of searching for the truth.

We filmed THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD during five years in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Budapest, Venice, and Tokyo, following in Björn's footsteps. We searched together with him to learn the truth about his mother’s death and his father’s identity by reaching into the archives and interviews with close family.

We searched for people who had crossed his path over the decades. It was naturally difficult to find some of them after 50 years, but miraculously many of them were available and willing to talk on camera. The rich archive material which we found throughout the process was also a big source of joy.

The base for everything has been trust and Björn's courage and wish to tell his story. We believe in interesting questions more than in simple answers. This is not an easy story. We hope it is gripping. We hope that Björn will come forward as the complex and interesting person that he is. This is a story with many layers, a box within a box within a box.

Director's Biography

Kristina Lindström (director) is a filmmaker, journalist, and author. She hasdirected highly acclaimed documentaries including ASTRID LINDGREN (2014), PALME (with Maud Nycander, 2012) which was awarded with two Guldbagge Awards, WONDERBOY (2003), THE ERA - PUNK IN THREE PARTS (2017) and SILENCE (with Kristian Petri , 2020). Among Lindström's work as an author, her trilogy about Swedish history from a young girl's perspective has become a long lived national success. Lindström has served as Head of Cultural and Factual Programming at public service broadcaster SVT where she has developed some of the channels most acclaimed program formats and documentaries. Among others, Lindström has been awarded the Linné Prize, Kristallen, Stockholm’s Culture Prize, and the Ikaros Award.

Kristian Petri (director) is a filmmaker, writer, and culture journalist with adistinctly personal voice that transcends genre and form. Petri's two shorts, ONCE UPON A TIME and THE CRACK, were selected for the Semaine de la Critique competition in Cannes in 1991 and 1992. His first feature filmBETWEEN SUMMERS (1995) was awarded with a Guldbagge Award and nominated for a Golden Globe and for best film at European Film Awards. It was also selected for the prestigious Quinzaine des Realisateurs in Cannes. Many of his films, including THE WELL (2005), DETAILS (2003), and TOKYO NOISE (2002) have been critically celebrated and have been nominated for and received a number of national and international awards. His latest film is L136 (2018) about the dramatic production of Ingmar Bergman’s mythical film: Winter Light.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Kristina Lindström, Kristian Petri

Produced by: Stina Gardell

Cinematography: Erik Vallsten

Editing: Hanna Lejonqvist, Dino Jonsäter

Original Score: Anna von Hausswolff, Filip Leyman

Sound: Brian Dyrby, Kristoffer Salting

Nominations and Awards

  • Documentary Selection 2021