Juno Films has acquired US and Canadian rights to The Most Beautiful Boy in the World ahead of its world premiere at this month’s Sundance Film Festival.
The film will be of particular interest to cinephiles, as it tells the story of Björn Andrésen, who became internationally recognisable at the age of fifteen with a key role in Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice. His star turn opposite Dirk Bogarde was something of a double-edged sword — it made him famous and plunged him into a world of the rich and powerful, but it also left psychological baggage. Visconti picked Andrésen because, in the director’s estimation, he was “The world’s most beautiful boy.” And he shot him in ways that highlighted his looks — a decision that has not necessarily aged well.
Andrésen suggested that Visconti’s style bordered on the exploitation of a minor. In a 2003 interview with The Guardian, he said “I feel used” and added, “Adult love for adolescents is something that I am against in principle. Emotionally perhaps, and intellectually, I am disturbed by it — because I have some insight into what this kind of love is about.”
The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is directed by Kristina Lindstom and Kristian Petri and produced by Stina Gardell’s Stockholm-based Mantaray Film. Juno Films will release the film in theatres in May 2021. The deal was negotiated by Elizabeth Sheldon, founding partner and Chief Executive Officer of Juno Films. Film Boutique recently announced that they have acquired Worldwide Sales Rights.
According to the official description, “Fifty years after the premiere, Björn takes us on a remarkable journey made of personal memories, cinema history, stardust and tragic events in what could be Björn’s last attempt for him to finally get his life back on track.”
The film was shot over five years in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Budapest, Venice, and Tokyo and features extensive interviews with Andrésen.
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“It 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,'” Co-director Kristina Lindstrom said in a statement. “Who was this boy and what happened to him? This film lets us listen to the boy’s own story. He, who was made into an image by others, an icon, a fantasy, which took over his young life.”