THE DAY OF THE SWANS
STEFAN, a, charismatic, but disturbing Austrian painter comes into a psychotherapy clinic in London and asks to be treated by ANNA, a young trainee psychotherapist. MAX PARIS, Anna’s eminent American supervisor is intrigued. Why doesn’t this man want his expertise?
During his therapy sessions, Anna is disturbed to find herself attracted to Stefan although she’s married and trained to be detached. He intrigues her with memories of happy holidays spent in a white house on a cliff in Wales and intimates she is part of these memories. But he won’t talk about what happened there when he was fourteen.
Anna videos her sessions with Stefan so that she can discuss them with Max. When Stefan tells her she’s his long-lost sister, she believes she’s dealing with a man with a Delusional Personality Disorder. To distance herself from him, she goes on holiday to Wales [Stefan has planted the seeds in her mind] with her self-centred husband TIM and is horrified to see Stefan in an atmospheric cave complex they’re visiting. [He’s followed her from London.] He gives her an envelope and tells her to look at the photo inside. ‘It will explain everything.’ Then he disappears into the crowd. In the photo, Anna is holding a young baby outside a white house with a teenage boy standing beside her. She’s confused. How does this explain anything? When she returns home she confronts Stefan and he stuns her by saying that the woman in the photo isn’t her, it’s their mother - Anna is the baby she’s holding. Anna now knows why Stefan thinks she’s his sister; she looks exactly like the woman in the photo. Soon Anna’s dreams become full of Stefan’s memories and her life flat-lines.
She eventually gets her ‘parents’ to admit that she was adopted at three. Feeling totally betrayed by them, she goes to see Stefan and he tells her about her birth mother, RENATE who was a highly talented concert pianist. However, when Stefan drives Anna to see her, she’s devastated to learn that Renate has been in a psychiatric hospital for 20 years; especially as Anna discovers she’s pregnant. Stefan comforts her and while she sleeps, he drives her to the white house on a stunning cliff in Wales and won’t turn back.
When Tim discovers that Stefan could be Anna’s brother, he’s horrified – what sort of baby is she going to produce if her mother is insane? He distances himself from her.
When Anna doesn’t return home, Anna’s parents desperately turn to Max for help. He shows them evidence that repudiates everything that Stefan has told Anna. He knows where they’ll be - the white house on a cliff that Stefan spoke about in therapy. They speed to Wales for Max is terrified Anna will hypnotise Stefan into remembering what happened to him when he was fourteen.