Nina Pens Rode

To the right: Nina Pens Rode (1929-92) in the role as "Gertrud" (1965)
Nina Pens Rode plays the all-important title role in "Gertrud" (1964).

Actress, 22 May 1929 – 22 July 1992.

Nina Pens trained as an actress at Odense Teater in the late 1940s and stayed on at Odense Teater until 1951, when she moved to Copenhagen and engagements at Det Ny Teater with director and producer Stig Lommer in his revue Mestersangeren i Revyenberg.

She acted in only five films. After watching her first film performance (Dorte, dir. Jon Iversen, 1951), she said, "And when I saw myself on the screen, oh, I seemed so rough, my features were unrecognisable, my mouth bigger than I thought, my eyes so different. After that I promised myself never to film again."

After a marriage to the editor Mogens Lind, she married her fellow actor Ebbe Rode (1910-1998) in 1959 and in the following years dedicated herself to her home and her children. Dreyer, however, lured her back on screen in 1964 for her most distinguished film role as Gertrud. In the film she plays opposite her husband, who plays Gertrud’s former lover. Bodil Kjer and Lily Weiding had both declined the part. Working with Dreyer was far from problem-free for Pens Rode. They disagreed about the character’s slow diction and stiff acting style, though Dreyer always had the last word.

Nonetheless, Pens Rode appreciated working with Dreyer. She describes him as a wonderful artist who loves beauty, who wants to create something beautiful and has an amazing understanding of women – a man who was so dedicated to his work that he would only have thought it natural if you had called him up at three in the morning to discuss your character. Since Pens Rode had plans to direct a film of her own, she studiously followed the production of Gertrud.

Pens Rode was known for her cool grace and proud demeanour. Contemporaneous reviews of Gertrud call her acting "sapless" and describe her as "beautiful but without warmth" – which is exactly how Dreyer envisioned Gertrud.

Further information on Nina Pens Rode in the Danish National Filmography (in Danish).

By Birgit Granhøj | 04. June