A rectangle of ferociously stormy sea viewed from battered
cliffs. Silver waves are whipped by a wind that flies at us,
stinging, relentless. Somewhere, unseen in the barren
landscape, something is at its mercy - we hear the RUSTLE and
PUNCH of the weather going at it...
INT. WOMAN’S EYE
The same scene reflected across the surface of a woman’s
brown eye, intense with emotion, curiosity. Gradually, the
WEATHER SOUNDS are overtaken by VOICES coming up. At first
the SOCIAL CHATTER is PERIPHERAL, then the VOICES grow more
STRIDENT, OPPRESSIVE. The eye blinks.
INT. GALLERY, COPENHAGEN, DENMARK, EVENING
A painting of the same sea, captured with remarkable accuracy
of feeling. A HUBBUB OF GABBLING VOICES. Too many people in
a low-ceilinged room. One voice dominates now -
OLDER WOMAN (O.S.)
Don't you wish you could paint like
We pull out to see GERDA WEGENER’S brown eyes shift from deep *
scrutiny of the painting to polite social focus as she takes
in an excited OLDER WOMAN.
I said, don't you wish you could
paint like your husband? Really - you must
be so proud...
The woman smiles and heads into the crowd, leaving Gerda to
consider... Gerda’s gaze travels across the well-dressed
gathering. Far off in a corner, there’s an inner circle
where her handsome husband EINAR WEGENER is being showered
with praise. A portly goateed man dominates the scene -
RASMUSSEN, Einar’s dealer.
They’re all Veijle, where he grew
Gerda begins walking toward them through the throng...
And I don't say my client is
the best landscape artist in
Denmark... but, he is in the top
Einar cringes as the crowd laughs, delighted. An exotic-
looking woman with mischief playing on her full lips
approaches Gerda. This is ULLA FONSMARCK. They’re friends.
(a stage whisper)
It’s going very well.
Oh yes. He’ll be impossible.
The women LAUGH. As Gerda looks up, Einar looks across,
smiles, trapped in his corner. Gerda nods back, reassuring,
conspiratorial. Then Einar’s pulled back into the select
circle and Rasmussen emits a ridiculous barking LAUGH.
EXT. COPENHAGEN STREET, NIGHT
Gerda and Einar, arm in arm, LAUGHING. Gerda wears a
distinctively embroidered fine wool wrap. Their FOOTSTEPS
ring down the empty street. A patina of crystallised brine
coats doorways, windows, scintillating in the moonlight.
Oh, come on. Be kind.
At least he agreed to see your work.
Only because he was drunk!
You were loving it!
I was not.
She mimics Rasmussen, his ludicrous excitement:
“I don’t say my client is the best
landscape artist in Denmark...”
“He is in the top one!”
They LAUGH hard. Someone calls from an upstairs window:
MAN AT WINDOW:
Hey - people are sleeping!
The window SLAMS. Gerda and Einar struggle to quieten down,
head for the dancing harbour lights - partners in crime.
EXT. HARBOUR, NEXT MORNING
- MAIN TITLES BEGIN
Fishermen selling straight off the boats to early-rising
customers. Prices are loudly negotiated as the silver catch
still writhes and flaps. A city coming to life.
INT. THE WIDOW HOUSE, BEDROOM, MORNING
Gerda carries in a breakfast tray. Einar sleeps. She observes
long eyelashes, cheeks hollow in repose, delicate
lips. A little dog, HVAPPE, trots beside her. She puts down
the tray and throws back the bedcover. Einar blinks in the
light, surprised. He stretches, takes in the silhouetted
outline of his wife: tall, purposeful Gerda.