DU ER IKKE ALENE (You Are Not Alone) is a 1978 Danish landmark film written by Lasse Nielsen and Bent Petersen and directed by Nielsen and Ernst Johansen. When the period during which this film was made, a time when gay theme movies were all but verboten, this little film is a brave, delicate, tender, unpretentious tale of the bonding, both emotional and physical, that occurs between two young boys in a boarding school in Denmark. The story develops slowly and insidiously, a fact that makes some viewers find it boring or slow. But for this viewer the pacing of the story is intricately involved in this tale of the fragile first attractions that occur in young boys: everything is new, and nothing is rushed - it just happens and evolves.
Kim (Peter Bjerg) is a young prepuberal youth living with his parents: his father (Ove Sprogøe) is headmaster of a boys' school and his mother (Elin Reimer) is in line with the father's hardline standards. Though not a student in the school, Kim does associate with the young high school age boys and finds one lad in particular, Bo (Anders Agensø), a role model who shows concern for Kim and with whom Kim bonds, emotionally and eventually physically. The manner in which this occurs is never acted out but merely suggested in the most discreet and beautiful way. But we watch as this bond develops more strongly, with each of the boys nascent to the situation in which they find themselves.
The classmates are a varied group - normal kids in a normal school situation - until one of the boys Ole (Ole Meyer), who is somewhat of a trouble-maker, posts magazine pictures of nude women in his dorm room. Reprimanded by the headmaster he is put on probation and when he ultimately posts the contraband pictures in the dorm restroom, he is threatened with expulsion. His classmates band together to protect him and Ole is maintained in the school.
Other sidebar stories that pepper the screen are swimming hole escapades where the injury of one of the boys calls forth the empathy of the entire class; there is a vignette where an older woman tries to teach one of the boys the beauties of physical love; there is a shower scene that finds Bo and Kim gently observing each other; and there is a class project for graduation that is supposed to be an enactment of the 10 Commandments, one episode of which is assigned to a student filmmaker.
It is this finished class project film, shown before the faculty and the parents, that is based on the commandment 'Love thy neighbor' and it is a beautifully wrought scene of Bo and Kim embracing and kissing in one of the more honest and sensitive moments on film. The 'non-story' film ends without an audience response: it simply fades away to a tune that speaks of 'You are not alone - there is someone like you ahead.' No, this is not a film about nudity or raw sex. Instead this film is a brave exploration of the normal period in growth when boys search for role models and find their first sensations of love emerging. It is delicate, beautifully filmed and acted, and is one of the early forays into same sex love that works on every level. Grady Harp, December 06
on January 10, 2007
The DVD version of you are not alone is an improvement on the VHS version. Better clearer subtitles, much better picture quality. The relationship that blossoms between Bo and Kim is very realistic, passionate and touching. The movie gives glimpses of the other boys relationships, such as the boy making out in the cellar with an older girl staff member and later he is seen by BO french kissing and making love in the shower with another slightly older boy, it showcases the boys bi-sexual identity.
Though most of the movie follows Kim and Bo. The shower scene with Bo and Kim is a favorite for me as is the final scene with them french kissing, I like this because I know very few American film makers would touch the subject let alone have a nude scene. It is my favorite coming of age movie or gay youth movie. Watch with an open mind and enjoy. The closing scene is very passionate, lots of kissing and hugging, just the thing to make the conservative anti gay crowd reel. I love it.
on December 28, 2006
Like so many films that have "gay" themes, this film is wrongly seen by some as a homosexual "coming of age" story. But it is not that simple. As shown very realistically in this beautiful movie, there is a lot of confusion among kids--and maybe there is more today than there was in the late '70s when this movie was made. Anyone who ever suffered from that confusion, whether arising from sexual, social, or other anxieties, will enjoy this film. It truly has a little of everything.
Is it a little too "erotic" for American sensibilities? Maybe, but those who are realistic about sexual experimentation will not have any problems with the very tastefully suggestive depictions of that. The young actors, male and female, are charming and convincing.
And there are brief adventures of the kind that typically occur in boarding schools and novels or films about them. But they are done
well and also reveal something of a "European" view of how various crises and problems in this kind of setting might be handled.
Grady Harp's review is right on target. The two protagonists, Kim and Bo, represent not necessarily gay kids, but any kids who are lonely, confused, alienated, and yearning for love and acceptance. They could be "geeks" or any other minority. And the depictions of "bullying" in schools and other settings, in a film from over twenty-five years ago, are eerily prescient.
But there are also many scenes of understanding and solidarity among the kids that are heart-warming. The final scene is really moving, especially when you understand that the whole school is behind it.
It's too bad that the DVD release does not offer many "extras", but it's a bargain.
I even like the "pop" music.
on August 13, 2007
I first heard about this movie in 1980. I was in my very early twenties. Time passed, and was not able to obtain a copy and I forgot about it. Browsing through You Tube, recently I found it by chance. When I saw the preview I went to my amazon found it, and ordered it. It made me feel good to relive the feelings and emotions of my boyhood and especially the crush I had on one of my best male friends. From the start of the movie it shows how boys that age relate to one another in a pure form of honest male friendship. The shower scene is perfect and is an innocent act of male puberty. Growing up in the early 70's made me feel isolated and alone with these feelings. Why is it so wrong to feel this way for your own sex. It's not wrong. It is beautiful. I believe its part of loving yourself. Studying through history one comes to the conclusion that this ignorant way of thinking here in America, had to be instilled by ancestors of the Mayflower! Only in Europe could a film of this subject matter and, its beauty have been made. Repressing those feelings for so many years left me sad and miserable for years to come. Some of us outgrow it to eventually love a woman and, have a family and some of us don't! We as a society must come to terms with the facts that it is common in young males. This society tries to make you feel shameful and make you believe that it is morally wrong and against god, that is a crime in itself. Have people forgotten the Kinsey reports. Because of all this puritanical bull in this part of the world it gives me a bitter taste of ignorance.This film is beautiful and wonderful. Its not only sexual but also shows togetherness, friendship, and for me an important lesson in loyalty and being part of the team. Had we as boys back then been able to express ourselves with each other, we might have turned out a little better. Kinsey in his study of male sexuality found out that repressing those feelings and not being able to fulfill a desire makes you only want it more. I recommend this film to all young men out there who have felt these feelings as i did growing up! Currently at these crossroads of life it is so redeeming and rewarding to finally fine out that indeed, i was not alone!
on October 27, 2007
It's hard to add anything to what's already been stated in regard to You Are Not Alone. However, I feel the one disc DVD is the best option because it provides the best picture. The difference is, indeed, noticeable compared to the two disc version of the DVD. Also, I did not find anything cut in the one disc version from the two disc one. True, the two disc version has photos of Peter Bjerg at 15 in addition to an interview with him. It should be stressed, however, the interview is written out for you to read, and does not have him speaking. For the difference in picture quality you can certainly do without the photos of Peter at 15 (I wouldn't know it was the same person), and the interview. In regard to the main characters both Peter Bjerg age 11 (Kim) with the long flowing hair and captivating smile, and Anders Agenso age 13 (Bo) are appropriately cast in their roles, and are undoubtedly the stars of the movie. The fact that two young boys choose to express their affection for one another by hugging and kissing should not be something to flip out over. Watch the movie with an open mind, and I'm sure you will enjoy it.
on January 31, 2010
This movie tugged at my heart the whole way through. I was born in 1966, the same year as Peter Bjerg (Kim), and I had those feelings, and I loved many beautiful boys in my school, but I was far too terrified to express myself because at the time I was going to school in a monolithic, rural, German-American, Catholic, homophobic community, where I feared for my safety had anyone known. Kim and Bo (and the other boys in this film) have literally acted out my adolescent dream of self-expression, acceptance, unity, and love, and I must admit it hurt to see what might have been had I been a little more courageous when I was a boy. It really brought me back to the era of bell bottoms and boys (and men) with long, beautiful hair. (C'mon guys! Let it fly!) I was in summer camp in 1978, and had I been more courageous there were a lot of boys I might have been able to share intimacy with (not necessarily sexual), and a lot of them looked just like these long-haired Danish boys in bell bottoms. (And shorts of a proper length! I hate these long shorts we have to wear today...)
Peter Bjerg was indeed beautiful in this film! His ever-present gentle smile, his big loving eyes, always looking confidently, reassuringly, and directly at whomever he was talking to (especially Bo), his subtle expressions, and his genuine responsiveness in the final scene (his eyes closed as Bo kissed him on the forehead -- so touching!), plus the fact that he looks so much like a boy I was SO attracted to when I was in 7th grade all added up to a picture of an extraordinarily talented actor who would have been the boy of my dreams, once upon a time.
Finally, I have wondered lately about why I'd never before seen a film, TV show, or even a picture of boys kissing. The iconic little boy kissing the little girl is everywhere, from greeting cards to tacky porcelain figurines to Norman Rockwell paintings and in many films, TV shows, and plays. Young boys kissing young girls. Where is the iconography for young love between boys? Can this film be all there is? It makes me sad.
on June 26, 2008
For those of us that were young and idealistic when this movie was shown for the first time in 1980, the movie will be a pleasant reminder of the ideals and ideas we thought were so important at that time. The movie is very political correct seen through the 1980 glasses. Oh so idealistic and correct the young teacher's statement are, and oh so old fashioned and fascistic the rector's view are! Of course the young and pure ideas had to win forth! So archaic the whole movie is, looked through the 2008 glasses.
But if you can endure the political correctness, the movie is a gem. The young actors are very fresh and honest. The acting might not be in the Oscar class, but what they lack in experience they have in abundance in freshness and enthusiasm. The main character Kim played by Peter Bjerg is in addition stunningly beautiful. I'm not sure today's young people will enjoy this movie, for that the world might be too different. Some may also be taken aback by the frontal nudity of young boys and how open gay love between young boys are shown. Considering how Sally Mann was treated after publishing nude photos of her own children, I would not be surprised that some will turn their backs on this movie in disgust. To bad for them! Buy the movie!
on December 30, 2009
Overall, this is a very good movie about teenage boys coming of age, it is not one-track gay love or sex focused, but rather deals with several teenage issues such as: friendship, boy's pranks, school life, the usual rebellion towards strict authority, banding together and supporting each other, acceptance, getting picked on and there is an element of innocent gay teenage love that runs throughout the film so this film is appropriately tagged gay romance.
The film is very much a timeless piece; it is definitively relevant today even though it was released in 1978. It also demonstrates the cultural differences in relation to gay movies with teenage boys; Europe versus North America in the sense that this film is not afraid to show frontal nudity and it is done in an artistic film manner versus a pornographic film manner. I could easily imagine myself (when I was a normal everyday teen) in the nude scenes as they were very much normal "real life" scenes that many teens have probably experienced and do not come across as staged for the camera. Also refreshing is the liberal attitude of the Danish, they are obviously not afraid to make a film with teenage nudity knowing that it is quite innocent and honestly reflects life. In many parts of North America today, particularly in areas with strong conservative religious undertones that exist, this would probably be criticized as being particularly disgusting because you happen to see a scene with frontal teenage nudity, even though it is not filmed in a sexual or titillating manner. I am happy this film exists because maybe it shows heterosexuals that homosexuals are not so different in what they need in life and at the same time shows them that their support and kindness is much appreciated and helpful than the often seen hatred and bigotry.
I think that it is nice to have a gay-themed movie that is sweet to watch and that you can relate to thinking back to when you were a teenager without it being another depressing tragic gay movie.
Ah, "You Are Not Alone", a film notorious among a certain group for a scene of two boys showering together. Yes, it certainly has that, but thankfully it also has much, much more.
My first thought with this film was that it was rather like Dazed & Confused - Criterion Collection, except Danish and gay. Otherwise there are a LOT of similarities. You several story threads, some drug use, plenty of music and lots of sexuality, in addition to a huge supply of long-haired 1970's boys.
The film centers around a group of boys at an all-boys boarding school in Denmark. We follow several of them through their adventures, but mainly focus on a student named Bo and the son of the headmaster, Kim, who he falls in love with.
Other plots include a cafeteria worker who apparently enjoys deflowering underage boys, two boys who often fight with each other, a pair of other boys getting it on in the showers (to prove that, no, in fact the main characters are not alone), some townies who cause problems for our heroes, and one boy who gets suspended for display large amounts of pornography, which leads to a good ole (as it were), fashioned student uprising.
I was actually surprised at how good this film was. I cared about all the characters, not just the main two, and was interested in the fates of all of them. I was also quite pleased that unlike in most gay fiction, we don't have anyone get gay-bashed, commit suicide, or wind up dead.
The only thing that even slightly got on my nerves with this movie were the songs which I am sure sound great in Danish, but don't work so well when you're reading English subtitles.
Overall this is a good movie I'd recommend to just about anyone, gay or straight. Especially teenagers, as there's several good lessons to be learned from this film about standing up to authority and tolerating other people's sexuality. It's a lesson more people can and should learn.
on October 18, 2007
Of all the coming of age movies I've ever seen, this one goes to no.1 on my list, way ahead of any other. (avoid 'Genesis Children'...total waste of time and money).
Described as a groundbreaking classic, this wonderful 1978 danish movie is totally honest, unpretencious and beautifully acted. For those of my generation, you are taken back in time where the flower child era was at it's best; you are almost uncomfortable watching the teachers with long hair and so open with the teenagers; at an experimental boarding school (avant garde), a boy who is gay is infatuated by a blond schoolmate (in the photo); they become friends, secretly at first, but then decide to be open about it, much to the dismay of some parents and school principal; there is nothing sordid or 'dirty' about it; simply affection, brief nudity, but the story would have been just as good without it; they are not the only ones discovering their sexuality; many other young teens have their first love with girls who work at the school; it brings you back to that awkward time, early teens, when you dont quite know how to approach a girl you like, let alone have your first kiss; the two main characters are the only ones who experiment with homosexuality (except for one other who tries both).
There is the school thug, two clans who face off at some point, but the main storyline, two boys who become close, romantic friends, is to be commended for the honesty, sincerity and boldness (even by today's standards) for touching on a subjet matter that is still too often taboo in some countries. I was frankly surprised it was sold in the USA, to be honest.
The story is sweet,interesting and well worth seeing; it, indeed, broke down many barriers in it's day and, despite the naive attitudes of youth in the flower power era, is still a great eye opener for those who had no clue about how teenagers behaved (and still do), with pranks, school, adults and most of all, the other kids they like, weather they are boys or girls.
A must see for 'coming of age' fans; excellent cinematography, naive script true to the era it portrays, a simple, muti-layered story where you will recognise yourself in one or many of the characters; 5 stars!