Review by Dan Skip Allen
Documentaries about various subject matter need to give a lot of information and show the viewer a side of the subject that is interesting and or fascinating. The Most Beautiful Boy in the World does just that. It focuses on a gentleman by the name of Björn Andresen, a celebrity in his own time
Director Luchino Visconti is looking for a very specific boy, not a girl, to star in his latest feature film back in the late '60s early '70s called Death in Venice. It eventually came out in 1971 in theaters. A Swedish boy, Björn Andresen, who's the narrator of the film, catches the eye of Visconti. He was dubbed the most beautiful boy in the world by the press and media at the time. He was just what Visconti was looking for. So Visconti started work on Death in Venice based on the Thomas Mann story of the same name.,
Visconti filmed most of the scenes at the Lido Hotel Des Bains. Dirk Bogarde played the crippled composer who admired Tadzio, Andresen's character in the film. Andresen also had a governess on set, Miriam Sambol. Born didn't get a lot of direction from Visconti except go, stop, turn around and smile. Visconti finished the film relatively quickly and it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that summer. This was the beginning of the craziness for Andresen in his career.
Andresen and his girlfriend Jessica travel around and visit various people from his past: a manga artist from Japan, a musician, an old friend of his mother's, and his daughter. The talking heads bring a lot of context to the story, along with archival footage of old childhood videos inner spliced throughout the film. This all helped delve deeper into his life. These interviews and super 8 videos explained a lot about his life which help break up the story of the film from earlier.
This doc had a lot going for it. From the aspect of Andresen being discovered and put into a movie which helped him develop acting and singing careers to the talking heads that provided context on his life past and present, this man was a very complex individual. As a result of his stardom and tragedies in his life, he would never be that innocent young teenager again. I am going to watch Death in Venice as a result of seeing this film. That's for sure.
The Most Beautiful Boy in the World hits theaters on September 24.