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    The Danish Girl (film)

    • The Danish Girl
      The Danish Girl (film) poster.jpg
      Theatrical release poster
      Directed by Tom Hooper
      Produced by
      Screenplay by Lucinda Coxon
      Based on The Danish Girl
      by David Ebershoff
      Starring
      Music by Alexandre Desplat
      Cinematography Danny Cohen
      Edited by Melanie Ann Oliver
      Production
      companies
      Distributed by Focus Features (United States)
      Universal Pictures (International)
      Release date
      • 5 September 2015 (2015-09-05) (Venice)
      • 27 November 2015 (2015-11-27) (United States)
      • 1 January 2016 (2016-01-01) (United Kingdom)
      Running time
      119 minutes
      Country
      • United Kingdom
      • United States
      Language English
      Budget $15 million
      Box office $64.2 million

      The Danish Girl is a 2015 British-American biographical romantic drama film directed by Tom Hooper, based on the 2000 fictional novel of the same name by David Ebershoff and loosely inspired by the lives of Danish painters Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery, Alicia Vikander as Wegener, Matthias Schoenaerts as Hans Axgil, Ben Whishaw as Henrik, Sebastian Koch as Dr. Kurt Warnekros, and Amber Heard as Ulla Paulson.

      The film was screened in the main competition section of the 72nd Venice International Film Festival, and it was shown in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released in a limited release on 27 November 2015 by Focus Features in the United States. The film was released on 1 January 2016, in the United Kingdom, with Universal Pictures International handling international distribution.

      The film received some criticism for its inaccurate portrayal of historical events, but Redmayne and Vikander's performances received widespread acclaim and nominations for all of the major acting awards. Vikander won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Redmayne was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. It was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Film.



      • 5 September 2015 (2015-09-05) (Venice)
      • 27 November 2015 (2015-11-27) (United States)
      • 1 January 2016 (2016-01-01) (United Kingdom)
      • United Kingdom
      • United States
      • The film is based on the novel The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff. The novel, as Ebershoff has stated, does not try to tell a true story. He not only imagined most of what he wrote about Elbe's inner life, but also created all of the other characters in the book, such as Hans and Henrik, both characters present in the film. Despite many inaccuracies, the film was marketed as a "true story" and "a true love story". Director Tom Hooper stated that the film is closer to the real story than Ebershoff's book.
      • The character Ulla Paulson is a fictionalized version of Anna Larssen, a Danish actress and preacher and very good friend of Einar/Lili and Gerda. She was born on September 12, 1875 and passed away on March 6, 1955. Although she she has some fictional characteristics such as a change in her name and having a side career as a ballerina, the real Anna Larssen was in fact late for a meeting with Gerda to pose for a painting, therefore Einar had to step in and fill in for Larssen at her own suggestion over the telephone, by putting on the dress and stockings which allowed his repressed feelings as a woman to resurface as he enjoyed wearing the clothes. It was Larssen who came up with the nickname Lili after walking in on Einar filling in for her while Gerda encouraged the nickname. Larssen was reportedly quoted as saying "You know, Andreas, you were certainly a girl in a former existence, or else Nature has made a mistake with you this time."
      • The film begins in 1926, when Lili was 44 years old and Gerda was 40. Their marriage lasted 26 years (1904-1930); they were respectively 22 and 18 years old when they got married. The film only mentions that Lili and Gerda had been married for 6 years.
      • Gerda was a natural blonde and blue-eyed woman (as she used to be portrayed in her self-portraits) with pale skin, while Alicia Vikander is a natural brunette with brown eyes and natural olive skin. Vikander had to wear blonde wigs while filming the movie, and she also revealed to The New York Times that the filmmakers were obsessed with the fact that she did not look Scandinavian and paled her skin, to make her lighter.
      • Gerda was 43–44 years old during the events portrayed in the film. Lili was 47 years old when she underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1930, and died the following year, at 48. Eddie Redmayne was 33 years old during filming, while Alicia Vikander was 26.
      • Lili and Gerda moved to Paris in 1912, when they were 30 and 26 years old, respectively. The film appears to imply they moved to Paris in the late '20s. Paris was remarkably liberal in the 1910s and 1920s, which is the reason why Gerda and Lili settled there and Gerda lived openly as a lesbian in the city. The scene in which Lili, dressed in men's clothes, is beaten by two men in Paris after being mistaken for a lesbian is fictional.
      • Lili's post-transition name was Lili Ilse Elvenes. The name "Lili Elbe", the only name used in the film, was made up by Copenhagen journalist Louise "Loulou" Lassen.
      • Topics including Gerda's sexuality, which is evidenced by the subjects in her erotic drawings, and the disintegration of Gerda and Lili's relationship after having their marriage annulled in 1930, are omitted in both the novel and the film.
      • Gerda's famous Lesbian Erotica paintings are never mentioned in the film, nor the fact that she was not present during Lili's last operation and death, but was living in Italy with her second husband, Italian officer Fernando Porta. Gerda divorced from Porta in 1936, did not have children, and never married again. She returned to Denmark, took to drinking, and died penniless in 1940. The character Hans Axgil did not exist in her life and was merely a loose inspiration from Porta, though the real Fernando Porta was not a childhood friend of Einar/Lili.
      • Lili's boyfriend at the time of her last surgery and death was French art dealer Claude Lejeune, whom she hoped to marry and have a child with. There is a photo of Lili and Lejeune together dating from 1928, when Lili was still legally married to Gerda. Lejeune is not mentioned in the film. The character Henrik is a fictional creation and is only loosely inspired by Lejeune.
      • An important factor surrounding Lili's death was omitted from the film; she died from organ rejection due to a uterus transplant (her fifth operation) in 1931, at the age of 48, but in the film she dies after the second sex reassignment surgery.
      • During the last scene, when Gerda and Hans are standing by Vejle Fjord, mountains are present in the background. Denmark has no mountains. The scenes were shot at the Mount Mannen in Norway and at the Isle of Sheppey in England. This historical inaccuracy was a conscious choice by the director, who later apologized to Danish people for his mistake.
      • Lili was not the first transgender woman, nor the first to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Dora Richter (born as Rudolph Richter in 1891, and sometimes referred to as Rudolph R.), who even early on in childhood displayed a "tendency to act and carry on in a feminine way", was castrated at her own request in 1922, when Magnus Hirschfeld arranged for a bilateral orchidectomy (castration) for her and began investigating the impact that reduced testosterone had on her anatomy. She worked as a domestic at the Magnus Hirschfeld Institute for Sexual Research, dressed as a woman. Hirschfeld affectionately called her Dörchen (little Dora) and published her transformation process as a transvestite in his work on gender studies Geschlechtskunde. Institute physician Felix Abraham published Dorchen's gender transformation as a case study: "Her castration had the effect - albeit not very extensive - of making her body became fuller, restricting her beard growth, making visible the first signs of breast development, and giving the pelvic fat pad... a more feminine shape." In June 1931, when Dora Richter/Dörchen R. was about 40 years old, her penis was amputated by the Institute physician Dr. Levy-Lenz, and then an artificial vagina was surgically grafted by the Berlin surgeon Prof. Dr. Gohrbandt. Dora becomes the first trans woman of whom records remain to undergo vaginoplasty. According to Dr. Felix Abraham, a psychiatrist working at the Institute for Sexual Science, her "first step to feminization was made by means of castration" in 1922. "After this there was a long pause, until the beginning of the year 1931, when the penis amputation was done and in June, the here described surgery" - a highly experimental vaginoplasty performed by Dr. Erwin Gohrbandt, (1890-1965). The highly experimental operation (which included the first attempt at vaginoplasty) was a remarkable success and the resulting publicity was enough to lure Lili to the Institute. Lili's case was far more high-profile that Dorchen's. Lili became the second trans woman to undergo Gohrbandt's vaginoplasty technique in 1931. Her castration and penectomy had been performed by Dr. Ludwig Levy-Lenz (1889–1966) the previous year. These preliminaries have sometimes caused confusion over the date of Lili's reassignment surgery. Gohrbandt's surgery deliberately leaves remnants of the scrotum intact, with a view to modifying these into labia at a later date, but, for reasons that are unclear, he did not perform this further procedure himself. Instead, Elvenes' case was taken over by the Nazi Party member Dr. Kurt Warnekros (1882–1949) at the Dresden Women's Clinic. Here, the labiaplasty and a subsequent surgical revision led to Lili's death from infection in September 1931. The ritual book-burning at the Institute for Sexual Science by Nazi students in May 1933 and the destruction of the Dresden Women's Clinic and its records in the Allied bombing raids of February 1945 has left gaps in knowledge of the life of Lili Elbe.
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