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Tadzio

Forgot...
For once I regret that I don't have Pink TV (the only cable gay channel in France).
They're having a thematic night on Björn Andresen, best known for having played the young Tadzio in "Death in Venice", to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Okay, the movie's long, and kinda boring, and a lil' bit on a pedophile's dream, but there was indeed something in Tadzio's look in a couple of scenes.
It would have been interesting to see the two documentaries aside (especially the second one, as I expect that Visconti's one, OTOH, would be... Whatever. An old artist falling head over heels for a 15 yrs old boy's beauty, tell me why I'm showing fangs and snarling, really...).

I found out about it while seeing an article on Björn on the last page of Libération that a woman was reading today in the RER, so I bought the newspaper in question to read the article.
It's... interesting. Totally depressing to see how the movie absorbed most of his life, too.

Comments

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garoonet
Jan. 27th, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC)
Someone took me to see it in a theater a few years ago. Imagine being locked in a room with nothing to do but watch the movie. I thought I was going to die.

Anyway, the interesting part in the documentaries was finding out he wasn't actually acting at all. When we see him meet Visconti for the first time, he has exactly the same look, expressions, the same walk as in the movie. (Although he was capable of smiling, and it looks like he has never been again since the movie.)

As for what he said in the two later interviews, I couldn't focus. The first one had awful sound, and the second had awful dubbing.
hiyami
Jan. 28th, 2005 06:03 pm (UTC)
Imagine being locked in a room with nothing to do but watch the movie. I thought I was going to die.

Arf :)
The torture... Yeah, I had just taped it on the Cinema de Minuit so I watched it comfortably in my couch. I think I even fast-forwarded a bit through it, which is something I usually never do with a movie I watch for the first time...

Anyway, the interesting part in the documentaries was finding out he wasn't actually acting at all.

It doesn't really surprise me, now that you say it. He didn't actually have a lot to do or even emotions to show, most of times. Just being there, looking in a direction. The article makes it sound like he didn't really get the subtext and wasn't explained anything at the time.

(Although he was capable of smiling, and it looks like he has never been again since the movie.)

Ooooh, Tadzio smiling, was it pretty? :)

As for what he said in the two later interviews, I couldn't focus. The first one had awful sound, and the second had awful dubbing.

Cable channels made me realize the importance of sound engineers. I had never seen before a TV show with a bad sound mix. Now I value a show where you actually hear what the people say... o_O

It's weird how far away it is from what I felt watching his interviews.

It doesn't mean you're wrong if what you felt. What did you feel exactly?
garoonet
Jan. 28th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC)
"The article makes it sound like he didn't really get the subtext and wasn't explained anything at the time."

Well, in his present-day interview with Claire Chazal, he said he read the book in preparation for the shooting. I doubt the subtext is absent from the book, and I doubt he was too stupid to understand it.

"Ooooh, Tadzio smiling, was it pretty? :)"

Cute. Definitely cute. Well, he was beautiful. (I had been so bored watching the movie for the first time that I didn't realize how amazingly beautiful he was.)
In the making-of documentary, with Visconti interviewing dozens of blond boys, he really stood out. Well, he was three years older than the part, so he definitely had an advantage over the chubby 12-year-olds, but still.
You have to wonder what he'd have become if he hadn't done the movie.

"Cable channels made me realize the importance of sound engineers. I had never seen before a TV show with a bad sound mix. Now I value a show where you actually hear what the people say... o_O"

Ditto. Although right now I have problems with the original version of Alias. Because it's on after midnight, and my parents sleep across the wall, and if you crank the volume up in order to hear the dialogue you're deafened by techno beats two seconds later.

"It doesn't mean you're wrong if what you felt. What did you feel exactly?"

I... uh, I don't know.
And, anyway, he seems to be very upper-class (unless I hallucinated, he said he owned a movie production thingy and a home studio, and if he's been idling ever since Tadzio he definitely didn't work to earn this) so he must have been taught to maintain a good figure, I suppose.

(Is HTML accepted, or are there special wiki-like codes?)
hiyami
Jan. 29th, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC)
I doubt the subtext is absent from the book, and I doubt he was too stupid to understand it.

Interesting. Either he didn't have a lot of liberty in his acting allowed by Visconti, or he was just too clueless as an actor (it was pretty much his first part, right?) to do better. Besides, the part wasn't much more than "being there and be beautiful".

I had a problem with that, actually. The fact that the boy was a willing and even teasing object of desire.
I'm probably lame :) but I can't see why a cute boy that age would tease a not-cute old man. So for me it was more a pedophile's dream. "See, it's not my fault if I fantasize on underage boys, he's been teasing me!"

I had been so bored watching the movie for the first time that I didn't realize how amazingly beautiful he was.

Ah, it's the only thing that kept me watching the whole movie, I wanted to see more of him to understand the fascination about him. He's not always dazzling (too passive for me, too young too, and we don't get to see anything much of his personality, which to me is important...), but he has some moments.
My favorite scene is the one on the balcony where he wears that seemingly Prussian uniform. Probably because that's where he looks slightly older, while in other costumes he looks more like a little boy... And well, anyone looks ridiculous in kid sailor suit anyway O_O

LJ understands some HTML commands like italic, bold, a href etc. :)
List of recognized tags here :
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garoonet
Jan. 29th, 2005 10:31 pm (UTC)
I don't quite get how your first sentence answers mine, so I hope there hasn't been a misunderstanding in there :)

I agree with you. Even though the pedophile is "punished" in the end (for the sole sin of coveting the boy) because it could hardly end well for him in the 1910s, the whole story feels a lot like promotion for pedophilia and consenting underage boys (all the more as Tadzio is supposed to be 12, not 15).

As for verisimilitude however, I don't know how it's supposed to be in the book, or in Visconti's mind, but you could very well imagine that Tadzio sees a pathetic old man being attracted to him, and decides to toy with him and see how far his power can go. That would perfectly work with the way he acts and his looks.
hiyami
Jan. 30th, 2005 11:49 am (UTC)
so I hope there hasn't been a misunderstanding in there :)

I had assumed that he didn't "act" because he didn't know what to act - the subtext. But if he had read the book before, it means that either he was asked to "not act" (or act in a way that was him anyway), or that he couldn't do better anyway.
I'm not quite sure what he was supposed to convey, though.

Even though the pedophile is "punished" in the end

I hadn't even perceived it that way :)
I thought that his crush on the boy was more the expression of a last burst of life before death, but yes it makes sense as being the obligatory moral ending for it.

you could very well imagine that Tadzio sees a pathetic old man being attracted to him, and decides to toy with him and see how far his power can go.

I figure so :)
It's not just something very... well it makes the boy look as "guilty" as the musician, and it could pass as a justification, too. Though obviously that kind of teasing behaviour does exist, and not only in pedophile or homosexual setting.
It's just something that annoys me in real.
garoonet
Jan. 30th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
But if he had read the book before, it means that [...] he couldn't do better anyway.

Oh, but what should he have done differently? I always had the feeling that he acted (or non-acted) perfectly fine for the part. He is supposed to be kind of a passive, distant tease, and as much as you'd (and I'd) dislike the character in real life, I think he's being perfectly the part.
garoonet
Jan. 28th, 2005 02:32 am (UTC)
Just read the Libération article. It's weird how far away it is from what I felt watching his interviews.

I'm afraid that living like a hermit (and not watching so many talk shows now that I have satellite TV) has made me lose any empathy I might have had.
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