Hot Docs 2021: “The Most Beautiful Boy in the World”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Has it ever happened to you that you find yourself lost for words? When, after watching a documentary film, you feel so empty, down and the desire to watch nothing else, even though there are dozens of films left to watch? I can hardly describe my feelings or the level of experience delivered in “The Most Beautiful Boy in the World”. Despite its grand title, it is far from being uplifting and it was never meant to be.

Directed by Kristian Petri and Kristina Lindstrom, “The Most Beautiful Boy in the World” revisited the infamous moments during the casting of Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice. As a famous director was looking for the most attractive boy, he finds what he was looking for in Björn Andrésen, who, indeed was more attractive than what words could express. After being cast for the film, in 1971, at the world premiere of the film, Visconti proclaimed Björn Andrésen to be “the most beautiful boy in the world,” turning him into a sexualised object; a handsome young man whose future was defined without him being able to put on his own stamp.

The film allows Björn Andrésen to revisit his past, discover the one life-changing moment, his life with his grandmother and how he grew up without knowing his mother. It all, obviously, contributes to his well-shaped personality – a tragic persona that must live by one particular day, a moment, that put him on a pedestal on the world stage but takes his chance to pace his own way towards self-discovery.

Beautifully shot from start to end, “The Most Beautiful Boy in the World offers a heart wrenching andabsolutely the saddest documentary you will see. Structurally perfect, the film shows how perfectly a young and innocent personality can be broken if it is being mishandled. Maybe Björn Andrésen was indeed the most beautiful one, but that beauty was exploited by the industry that should have protected him. His lack of readiness for the unknown is what’s still happening in the modern world. We still did not learn to protect our children properly, build a strong foundation for the future, and give that self-esteemed personality filled with self-determination and courage that could help fight the unknown temptation that could easily force anyone off the cliff.

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