The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

Director Kristian Petri,Kristina Lindström / 2021 / Sweden

An unsettling, melancholic portrait of what fame did to the talented young star of Death in Venice.

Plucked from obscurity at 15 in 1970 to play the lead role in Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice, shy Swede Björn Andrésen was dubbed “the most beautiful boy in the world”. Fifty years later, the actor is still reckoning with the lingering damage of global celebrity. Adoration for Andrésen was particularly frenzied in Japan, where he became the first Western pop idol, while fame itself paved the way for traumatic experiences that, to this day, have left the actor irreparably scarred.

Swedish documentarians Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri sensitively trace Andréson’s journey, from the Lido in Venice and luxury apartments in Paris to karaoke rooms in Japan and squalor in Sweden. They’re careful not to compound the burden that another filmmaker’s callous gaze placed on this man, and yet – as revealed in moments of quietly forthright honesty – Andréson seems almost like a ghost trapped among the living. What results is a poignant account of beauty and youth consumed in the wielding of movie magic.

“A haunting, gut-wrenching exploration of a timeless idol and the weight of his success.” –

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