‘The Danish Girl,’ plays as part of Edinboro Film Series

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 at 10:48 PM
‘The Danish Girl,’ plays as part of Edinboro Film Series by Hannah McDonald

If one is looking for something to do on a Thursday night, he or she should see what movie is playing at the theater in Pogue Student Center. Every other week, the Edinboro Film Series presents the next selection in their semester-long program.

This past week, the film playing was “The Danish Girl.” At 8:30 p.m., people filed into the theater with snacks, ready to relax and watch the movie. Thursday’s film was a drama loosely based on the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. “The Danish Girl” is an adaptation of a book of the same name by American author David Ebershoff.

The book was published in 2000 and has gained popularity since the release of the movie. Ebershoff’s book is a fictionalized recording of the life and journey of Lili Elbe, as she becomes one of the first people to transition from male to female in 1930. Elbe was born as Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener in 1882 in Vejle, Denmark and died at age 48 in Dresden, Germany after complications from a uterus transplant.

Elbe kept detailed journals through the transition where Ebershoff found personal information for his book. These journals were turned into a memoir after her death, telling the tale of one of the first transgender women.

Einar Wegener was a successful painter, as was his wife Gerda. The film “The Danish Girl” tells the story of how their marriage and work evolved during the journey. Filled with emotional strain, stressful choices, old and new loves, the movie is a good pick for drama lovers.

There are few characters in the film and the plot is linear, which could cause the pacing to be slow, but the intricate score by French composer Alexandre Desplat builds suspense, creating a beautiful flow to the film. As Lili learns to act and hold herself like a woman, she moves her body — especially hands — in elegant, sweeping motions that are inspired by ballerinas and women in the adult entertainment industry. The twinkling piano and waves of string instruments seem to capture the graceful movement of a woman.

Each shot of “The Danish Girl” is a work of art. Carefully calculated shots capture the emotion of the film in unique ways. Color was very important in this movie. Cool landscapes were a stark contrast against the red hair and clothing of Elbe. During the time Gerda and Einar Wegner spent in Paris, the sets were dark representing the struggle Lili was going though while living inside the male body of Einar.

Lili and Gerda grow as women and apart from one another as the film progresses, but as Lili lost the love Einar had for Gerda, Gerda never left Lili’s side during the time of trial. Even in the final moments, Wegner was there for Elbe. “The Danish Girl” is not just about the journey of Elbe’s change, it’s also about the adjustment and change in Wegner’s life.

At 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 20, “Possession” is playing in Pogue as a continuation of the film series. Based on the strong movies chosen for the series so far this semester — “Me, Earl, And the Dying Girl,” “Tree of Life” and “The Danish Girl” — the upcoming movie is not one to miss.

Hannah McDonald is a Copy Editor for The Spectator.

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