#TheDanishGirl is a cinematic journey about love, identity, and self acceptance.
The Danish Girl is a new film by Focus Features and Working Title/Pretty Pictures. The story takes place in the 1920’s and highlights the relationship between Lili and Gerda. The issue? Lil is also Einar Wegener (played by actor Eddie Redmayne), Gerda’s husband. The film starts out in Copenhagen, the married couple are both working artists; Einar/Lili an acclaimed landscape painter, and Gerda (played by actress Alicia Vikander) a portrait painter relentless in her pursuit for success. Their love for each endures through a rocky relationship, a midst travels to Paris, Dresden, and back home to Copenhagen where Lili/Einar lives the last of her days before her untimely death.
The film is a tearjerker, as the couple attempt to negotiate space for their relationship, financial stability, social acceptance, and matters of sexuality. During all of this Lili/Einar undergoes multiple evaluations from medical professions across the board. The result is a hodgepodge of diagnoses and suggested procedures; suggesting that Lili/Einar is a “perverted” “schizophrenic” that needs radiation therapy and his head operated on. Although s/he does eventually undergo an operation it is at her accord–with the support of Gerda as well as Lili’s childhood friend Hanz.
The film’s focus on the feminine mystique is a driving force that perseveres from the opening scene to the roll of the credits as makeup, dresses, and vogue poses become the defining characteristics of womanhood. Additionally, there are a few references to childbearing, heterosexuality, and genitalia– the later being the centerpiece of story-line, as Lili/Einar opts to undergo Sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). All in all the film is a very modern and timely piece of cinematography, especially in a year in which gay marriage, and transgender issues have hit the national stage– hat tip to Chelsea Manning, Caitlyn Jenner, and a wag of the finger to Antonin Scalia.
Embedded into the subtext of the film are modern transgender issues, including the need for social acceptance, the ability to “pass” as a woman, and “coming out” to friends and loved ones. One exceptionally powerful statement is Lili’s assertion, “there is nothing wrong with me,” an ongoing affirmation, even today. Whereas the “professionals” defined Einar’s circumstance as a matter needing to be suppressed through institutionalization; Gerda feels something different, and sees a beauty in Einar that surpasses what he sees in himself.
The relationship continues to hit rough patches as Einar transitions into Lily, and what starts of as impromptu modeling sessions becomes a fully realized release for Einar. More and more he sees himself through the gaze of his wife, a lens in which his soft facial structure, and slim figure are emphasized. The two share intimate sexual moments during the sittings, but become less and less frequent as Einar becomes more and more femme. The bond between the two is unquestionable, yet the tragedy here is that both seek a heterosexual relationship– Gerda with the man she had married, and Lili with a man that will appreciate her as she is.
With a run time of 2 hours and change, the film covers a lot of ground, but is not completely comprehensive, as the movie begins with Einar and Gerda’s married life as working artists and only glosses over their premarital life. However one can image that Einar’s story-line would consist of beatings for his lack of rugged masculinity, and Gerda’s push for recognition as an artist in a world dominated by men. That said, the film is a welcomed addition to the canon of cinematography devoted to transgender themes and nonconforming lifestyles.
The film has been nominated for 3 Golden Globe awards; including “best actor in a motion picture (Drama), and best actress in a motion picture, (Drama). Check local listing for the nearest screening.
Modern Transgender Success
Andreja Pejic, international model.
Buck Angel, Female-to-male adult film star
Chelsea Manning, a proponent of public information
Lana Wachowski, sibling mastermind behind The Matrix Trilogy, & V for Vendetta.
Michael Ray De Los Angeles
Bachelors of English Literature
Humboldt State University.
Freelance Writing, Editing, & Cinematography
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