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You Are Not Alone (1978)

Art House & International movie directed by Ernst Johansen and Lasse Nielsen

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Gay-zed and (Sexually) Confused

  • Apr 8, 2009
  • by
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.

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More You Are Not Alone (1978 movie) reviews
review by . March 02, 2008
"You Are Not Alone"    The Taboo of the Times    Amos Lassen    Rewatching "You Are Not Alone" last night made me realize how much gay life has really changed. The Danish movie made in 1978 deals with an aspect of society which was a taboo and considered quite scandalous when it was first released. It is about life in a boarding school in Denmark and focuses on the conflict of the old fashioned views of the headmaster as opposed to the …
review by . June 22, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Acting, story, music      Cons: The end is a little abrupt      The Bottom Line: This is a gay teen love story to be blunt. If this doesn't offend you, this is a fantastic film. If it does, avoid.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      You Are Not Alone (a Danish film: Du er ikke alene) is a little bit My Bodyguard and a little bit Harold and Maude. Please …
review by . December 14, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
Ranked #60
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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About this movie


Unflinchingly honest and boundlessly lyrical, the exploration of sexual awakening in You Are Not Alone was a turning point in world cinema. At a Danish boy’s boarding school in the late 1970s, Bo and Kim are naive young classmates, whose friendship blossoms into a childlike love affair. When their friend is expelled for a prank involving lewd posters, the student body bands together to strike against the school and its authoritarian headmaster. Lasse Nielsen and Ernst Johansen’s classic film is a groundbreaking meditation on innocence, rebellion and love.
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Screen Writer: Lasse Nielsen, Bent Petersen
DVD Release Date: June 27, 2006
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Tla
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