Simple Joys

まだ見ぬ景色 その先の

Björn Andrésen 2020 Radio Interview - English Translation

*** In relation to the Swedish documentary film 'The Most Beautiful Boy In The World', to be released at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan.29 2021, Björn had a couple of interviews in Swedish media in recent years.

I had somebody close to myself translate them to English last month and I have organized the content and put it into two posts. ***



The second post is based on the radio program 'Katarina Hahr möter' interviewed by Katarina Hahr and the underlined comments are hers.

📍In this interview, he talks quite openly about very painful memories, including the loss of his family members.


'Katarina Hahr Meets' (Podcast Oct. 2, 2020 Sveriges Radio)


To be 10 years old and lose his mother, to be 15 years old and become world famous and declared "The Most Beautiful Boy In The World " ー meet Björn Andrésen in a conversation about 'passion'.




Photo: Alexander Donka/Sveriges Radio


My name is Katarina Hahr

I'm just going to put (🖋cannot catch the rest)

Would you keep your sunglasses on ?
I don't think it makes any acoustic difference.

(Laughing)What do you look like now ?

Well… (laughs). Approximately the same, just longer hair and longer beard.

Do you still have curly hair ?

Yes, sort of, but with 'rings' (laughs) that sometimes appear(laughs)

A bit like Medusa's head.


🖋Katarina Hahr is an acquired visually impaired.





What comes to your mind when I say 'passion' ?

Ohー'love'. That is the first thing that comes to mind.


Do you remember your first girlfriend ?

I was about 17, so very young ー I was a beginner, and I did not really know what passion was in those days.


What memories do you have from when you were a child ?

I remember a window, sitting in my child chair.
It must have been winter because I remember I saw tree branches without leaves, stretching up towards a grey sky.

Perhaps it is an illustration of the feelings I had at that time, and I say perhaps because I am not sure…

But it may have been a kind of prophecy of what was going to happen with my parents' divorce and so on.

Do you remember your father at all ?

My stepfather, yes. Because he was the one who was my father until I was 13.
Then I got to know that he was not my real father.

But at that time he was very valuable to me because I did not see him much.


Do you remember how you felt at that time ?

I was nervousーas to what was going to happen with the divorce.


So it was not a nice time at home…
No. There was quite a lot of alcohol and loud voices.

I sometimes tried to mediate.


What do you remember about your mother ?


But not only that. She took us around half of Europe before we even started school.

(🖋Björn said 'us' here and I interpreted that he was with his sibling, possibly same mother but different father.)


She enjoyed traveling and photography, and she wrote poems. She was a journalist too. So she had quite a few talents.


But what happened to your mother then ?

Well, I guess she tried as well as she could.

One day she went together with us on the tram on the way to school.

And she got off at Stureplan(a public square in central Stockholm) and we waved to her, and she waved, and waved, and waved, and waved…

Then I knew that this was the last time I would see her.


How did you know that ?
Because I saw she was looking out the window with an empty expression in her eyes, and was chain smoking and did not reply when we talked to her.


So she looked unhappy ?

Yes. And I remember I was desperate and thinking that when I grow up I am going to save my mother.


After you waved goodbye to your mother there, what happened after that ?

She disappeared. Nobody knew where she was. 

My grandmother said that she had probably gone on a trip somewhere.


Where did you live at that time(after his mother disappeared) ?
At that time we lived with my (maternal)grandparents.

At Östermalm(central Stockholm) ?



So they said she might have travelled somewhere ?
Well, yes, but nobody really talked much about it.

And you were only 10 years old at that time …You must have been so sad…

(Exhaled hard)Well, Katarina, that is kind of a problem.
Because I had such long notice about what might happen, her disappearance did not come as a shock. Even when a couple men came to our house and started talking about her.


They were police men ?
Yes. They had then found her in a forest…under a pine tree.

I feel kind of embarrassed ーI wanted to cry but could not…I don't know why.
It was like I was paralyzed.

When people talk about sorrow I don't really understand it because I have never felt real sorrow.

(Exhales)So I feel like I have a sort of handicap. I don't know how to describe it.

What about your grandparents after this happened ? How was the atmosphere at home then ?

It was very quiet, no mention of it. The funeral came and went ーand no comments.

It was not how they behaved in the familyーtalk openly about any serious problem.


What kind of family was it ?

Well…after my mother disappeared we had kind of been forced upon them…and I don't think my grandfather was very happy about that.


Did you feel that you loved them ?

… No… I don't think so.


Were you loved by your mother ?
(He paused) I really don't know. I don't remember that I was.

The first thing I think of is not warmth and sincerity. 
I think she wanted to raise me as some kind of aristocrat, something like that. 

Some said my mother adored me.  But my passion for my mother was never answered ー at least not in the way I may have wished. 

And you pursue the purpose of your passion, and when that disappears you switch and continue your passion towards some replacements ー which can be difficult for the victims. 


And you were just a child.



Did she commit suicide ?



And since then you have been looking for what you perhaps never got...

Looking for someone to save. Women that may have a difficult life.

And without knowing how you yourself should behave or know how to be help of...

You become some kind of magnet... but at least you have the suffering in common.

There is always something.


You know that the meaning of 'passion' is 'suffering' ?
Yes. 'The passion of Christ' 


Since your mother passed away when you were 10, and you thought your stepfather was your father ーand when you are 13 you get to know that this is not the caseーwhat happens then ?

Inside me you mean ?


How did you learn that your stepfather was not your real father ?

Well, it was actually my grandfather took me aside to a corner room, because it was a big houseーhe said something like 'l think it is time that you get to know that Per Andrésen is not your real father. He has adopted you.' 

'I see' I said ー Just as if he had said it is going to rain tomorrow.


And who is your real father ?

That I found out not long ago.

Really !?(surprised voice)

Yes. DNA test.
With something like more than 98% certainty it is the painter, illustrator and artist Lasse Hallbergー whose drawings and one painting hang on the walls of Restaurant Prinsen.


When did Lasse Hallberg pass away ?

He died 3-4 months before I was born. 1956. He died in a car crash(driving himself).


🖋Lasse Hallberg/Lars Hallberg (1933-1956)
(🖋His comment 'he died 3-4 months before I was born' doesn't make sense to me because as far as I know Björn was born on Jan.26.1955 and Lasse Hallberg was alive that time. I suppose that the documentary film will also reveal something about it.)



Photo: Alexander Donka/Sveriges Radio 


Was it you or your grandmother who wanted to have you play in a movie ?

My grandmother. She applied for all sorts of auditions for me. I debuted on TV, playing the piano, when I was 7 or 8.


Then when you got a role in 'Swedish Love Story' by Roy Andersson, did you enjoy it ? 

Yes, the shooting I enjoyed.


And then later you got the next role
Yes, Luchino Visconti called and asked me to come and audition in Stockholm.

Did you know who that was ?
No idea. My first thought was if this was some kind of porn movie.


How was the audition ?

We were asked to come to the K.K. House behind the Grand Hotel.

There were about 40 boys of us running around.


At that time you were 16 ?

No, I had just turned 15 at that time, I think it was February. 

And I was asked to take my sweater off.


Who asked you to take your sweater off ?
Visconti. I felt rather uncomfortable doing that.


But you did not say no ?

No, I have difficulties saying no, even now(chuckles).


And maybe because you didn't have anyone to protect you ? 
No, I didn't. Although I don't blame anyone for that.

My grandparents couldn't really know what they may do in the movie business.


And then the movie premiered ー'Death in Venice'

Yes. In the presence of Queen Elizabeth of England. And Princess Anne was there.


It was held in London ?
Yes. And Dirk Bogarde had the main role as Professor Aschenbach in the story.

And I played Tadzio, the young man who became the focus of his adoration because of his physical beauty. 

It is a mark that will never go away. 


What do you mean ?
Well, one always comes back to 'Death in Venice'ーnothing else matters.


You mean in regard to you ?
Yes. It doesn't matter wherever you areーLondon, Rome, Paris,...(speaks French and chuckles?). 
It never ends(chuckles).


Would you say that you have been exploited?
(Exhales)… Yes… I would say so.

I feel that I deserved a bit more than the US$4,000 I was paid.


Did you feel like you were an object ?

Yes, I did. I know how it feels to be objectified, which I don't wish for anyone.




Photo: Katarina Hahr möter / Sveriges Radio Facebook

Now that we are talking about this back and forth, it must have made a big impact on you and your life

Yes, it has.


In what way ?

In the form of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.

And I know that those things are pacifiers.

I am drinking to keep sane. You can say whatever you like about Freud but his concept 'Ersatz' is relevant.


You are comforting yourself ?


But it must have been even more difficult when you had children ?

Yes. I thought, 'this is a new life'. At that time I went through a change of heart.
When a new life was born you became a second priority.
So I applied to many schools so that I could get a proper education to provide for my family.

That worked reasonably well, for a while, until the relations between me and my children's mother started to deteriorate.

I could not bear to stay at home and started to go out to pubsーvery immature and selfish, but the darker the relations became between us the more alienated I became. And what really changed things was when the boy died. 


Your son ?

Yes, Elvin.


When was Elvin born ?

…September 12,1986. At that time Robine was around 2 years and 2 months old.

At that time everything seemed fall into place. It was wonderful to have two childrenーone of each.

But I felt ashamed…


What happened ?
(Sigh) I fell asleepーmaybe for 2.5 or 3 hours. And the next thing I hear is Suzanna's scream.

He is not thereーhe is under the blanket, next to me.
(Breathes in deeply) 
I pull away the blanket and see that his lips are blue.

I tried to revive him, but in vain.

(Exhales) Then the ambulance, and I guess they did everything they could.

(Sigh) But when the doctor came out I could see on his expression that there was nothing that could be done…… 


What do you remember after that ?

(He paused) I don't know, I became kind of paralyzed, like a living dead.

Didn't know what to say.

It was a bright sunny day....


Was there any (medical)investigation afterwards ?

They diagnosed it as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); which I don't buy at all.


What do you mean ? You are saying that you don't think it was SIDS ?

I don't know; it's just my gut feeling.

Do you think it was your fault ?

It was clearly my fault.

If I had somehow, if I had been an adult and… darn, I behaved like a youngster.

Then this would not have happened.


But Björn, they diagnosed it as SIDS, and therefore the doctors cannot have thought that it was your fault.
… I can only say that it would not have happened if I had behaved more maturely.


How can you manage to cope with this, alcohol ?

… I assume that it makes it easier, maybe it helps to push it away; but I don't know.

And perhaps I drink to be able to feel anything at all.


Do you know what I find puzzling ?

You see, your mother sitting drinking wine and smoking, looking out the window. She is very sad and unhappy. She takes her own lifeーthen...

I was not so far away from that myself. Certain things you do out of sympathy.
Sorry, I interrupted.


Yes,… and then you say that it was your fault that your son died. And you say that this was because of alcohol ?

Yes, and childish self-centeredness and irresponsibility.

But you still continue drinking ?

Yes, but at least I don't expose anyone else to that.

But are you harming yourself ?

That's a different matter.

But does that mean you think that you are not worth so much ?

No, I never thought much of myself(laughs).

So you don't care about yourself ?

No… well(sigh), I don't know if I am walking around waiting for a miracle to happen, perhaps. I don't know. 

How often do you think about your boy ?

Recently I have started thinking about life after death, and I am convinced that I will see him again.