Björn Andrésen, the difficult life of the child prodigy discovered by Visconti-

from Maurizio Porro

In 1970 the director was struck in Stockholm by the beauty of the 15-year-old Björn who became Tadzio on the set. This shy boy suddenly found himself thrown to the headlines

The life of children and young prodigies in the cinema lasts. For someone who makes it big, put Liz Taylor, Jodie Foster, Mickey Rooney, many collapse in the face of the double life of sets. Among these, Björn Andrésen, chosen by the master of neo-realism Luchino Visconti for Death in Venice. Visconti in 1970 was dazzled in Stockholm by the beauty of the 15-year-old Björn Andrésen who became Tadzio on the set. The story of this shy boy of an unhappy and disrupted family, cared for by his grandmother, suddenly found himself thrown into the headlines as an idol and fetish of an ephebic canon, is the subject of a docu-film in theaters these days with Wanted Cinema, The most beautiful boy in the world.

The nickname of Kristina Lindstrom and Kristian Petri was born from a definition by Visconti himself who saw personified in Björn the teenager of Thomas Mann’s story. After two years of rounds and interviews, closely watched by Visconti who had tightened a safety net around him on the set, the acclaimed Björn became an idol in Japan where a generation of manga artists chose him as an icon (the face of Lady Oscar remembers it). The bio film is commented by Björn himself who is now a 66-year-old man, long-haired, bearded, tired and afflicted by many misfortunes including the death of one of his two children (of whom he bears remorse). Far away are the images of the Hotel des Bains, the liberty costumes of Tosi and the notes of Mahler. The former star recalls that Visconti gave him little information (turn around, stop, smile …) but around him he felt he was surrounded by bats and in his memory the word that comes naturally is “nightmare”, albeit without acrimony or spite.

There is no doubt that that film the life already severely tried by an unknown father and by his mother, a model for Dior, who disappeared and was found dead in a wood, upset him. Of course, alcohol, certain red pills they gave him to keep him up, advertising and the greedy grandmother did their part: on balance a period of affliction, despite the crowds and the money. At a certain point Björn, having left his wife, daughter, sister, withdrew and rumors circulated that he was dead. Instead he tried to heal the wounds of the ephemeral glories of cinema, the best: still today he says “I will not die, I will disappear”. The testimony of Visconti’s film will remain for eternity to remind him how time does not discount and often the career of the prodigy boys is full of stumbling blocks, missteps, broken idols like Björn aka Tadzio.

September 15, 2021 (change September 15, 2021 | 17:39)

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