Warning: The Tinted Lens podcast and accompanying materials contain spoilers for The Danish Girl

Tinted Lens: The Danish Girl

Posted on: 27 Jan 2016 by Claire Vaughan

Tinted Lens is a collaboration between Chapter, Cardiff University and Film Hub Wales which explore the mind and conceptions of normality and pathology in film, with a focus on loss and grief, fantasy and delusions, understandings of time and states of consciousness. 

This month’s Tinted Lens discussion followed the screening of The Danish Girl on Mon 25 Jan. The Danish Girl is an adaptation of the novel by David Ebershoff about pioneering transgender artist Einar Wegener. The Danish Girl is a fictionalised account of Wegener's relationship with fellow painter Gerda Gottlieb. The pair were married in 1904 before Wegener's then-experimental gender reassignment surgery in Germany in 1930. Wegener re-emerged as Lili Elbe and the marriage was dissolved the same year. Elbe died in 1931 after a failed attempt to transplant a uterus.

The screening was followed by an expert panel discussion and audience debate to explore some of the themes raised by this film. 

Ann Heilmann drew on her work on the cultural history of an earlier transgender case, James Miranda Barry (1790-1865), Victorian gender conceptualizations in culture and literature, and how gender definitions started to open up through feminist and late-century sexologist discourses.

Catherine Butler drew on her expertise on the intersection of transgender and feminist issues to discuss gender identity and transgender debates.

Tom Harman drew on his work examining the intersection of masculinity, neoliberalism and Hollywood cinema.

Clea Rees drew on her expertise in moral psychology and the philosophy of the mind to explore identity, transformation and gender.

Listen to the presentations on Soundcloud here:

Download the notes and slides to accompany the talks from Ann Heilmann and Dr Catherine Butler using the links on the right of this page.

The Danish Girl is showing at Chapter Cinema until Thur 4 Feb. Book your tickets here.


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