The Wild Swans


A king lives in a beautiful castle with his eleven sons and a daughter named Elisa. Sadly, their mother passed away and the father meets a beautiful woman and falls in love. She is a witch and blinds him with her beauty. She sends Elisa away and turns Elisa’s brothers into wild swans.

The Wild Swans – the Movie

The Wild Swans – the Movie

With help from an old woman in the forest Elisa finds her brothers. They are swans by day, but transforms into humans at sunset. Elisa will do whatever it takes to break the spell. A fairy shows her in a dream, how she must collect stinging nettles from a graveyard and knit eleven shirts from their soft flax. Until the day she finishes, she must not speak.

In the new land, where they now live, a young king reigns, and he falls in love with Elisa. They marry even though the archbishop is horrified – convinced she is a witch. The archbishop sees Elisa one day, picking nettles at the cemetery at night and the people in the town sentence her to death. She is taken to the market square to be burnt at the stake.

The sky grows dark as eleven swans swoop down beside her. She throws the shirts over them. The crowd gasps as the great swans turn into princes again. She breaks the spell and they all live happily ever after.

The Wild Swans is made in close collaboration with Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II. The film transforms Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale into a spectacular universe and transports the viewer into an artistically dark and magic world populated by princes, princesses, evil stepmothers, body eaters and toads.

HM The Queen has designed the costumes and the scenography is made out of a whole series of decoupages. The decoupages include cutouts of many types of imagery and move from the tangible to the abstract – all created from different sources. They are included in the movie using ‘green screen technology’, with the actors acting in a scenic space represented by the decoupages.

The story examines life’s great themes: wickedness and love, but also perseverance and the indefatigable struggle for justice. It presents the viewer with the whole fairy tale, but also illustrates HM The Queen’s interpretation: “The deeper we sought to delve into the fairytale, the richer it turned out to be. Its imagery, which had fascinated me already as a child, unfolded in all its diversity and reinforced my admiration and fondness for the art of Hans Christian Andersen”. Queen Margrethe II
HM The Queen is not only the designer of the backgrounds (the decoupages) and costumes, she also plays a minor part in the movie.

For several years, HM The Queen has devoted herself to Andersen’s literary works, and dramatized, animated and created illustrations to his fairy tales, and with the The Wild Swans she has proved that she is truly a great Hans Christina Andersen artist.

Directors Peter Flinth & Ghita Nørby
Producer Jacob Jørgensen
Produced by JJ Film
Duration 60 min.
Year of Production 2009
Original Title De Vilde Svaner