Director: Martin Zandvliet
Cast: Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman, Emil Belton, Oskar Belton, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard
Duration: 101 mins
Country of Origin: Denmark/Germany
Strong themes and violence
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“Potent and accomplished. Zandvliet’s script and direction avoid milking an innately loaded situation for excess melodrama or pathos, sticking to a discreet economy of approach that accumulates considerable power.”
Dennis Harvey, VARIETY
“Powerful. A tense, compact drama about the way war undermines our sense of humanity. The characters are skilfully delineated and the acting is first-class.”
John McDonald, THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW
WINNER – 2016 DANISH FILM AWARDS – Best Film, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing & Cinematography
WINNER – 2016 ROTTERDAM INTL. FILM FESTIVAL – Audience Award
WINNER – 2016 GÖTEBORG INTL. FILM FESTIVAL – Best Nordic Film
WINNER – 2016 TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Best Actor
Based on extraordinary true events, writer/director Martin Zandvliet’s stunning, multi award-winning new film is a nail-bitingly tense thriller about a group of young German prisoners of war in Denmark in the immediate aftermath of World War II, which examines both the repercussions of retribution and the value of forgiveness.
In the days following the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945, a group of German soldiers – most barely out of their teens – are put to work by their Allied captors. With minimal training, they are sent to locate and disarm their own hidden weapons that still litter the beaches along Denmark’s west coast, under the supervision of a righteous and embittered Danish sergeant, Rasmussen (Roland Møller, in a superb performance). Scornful of the Germans for their five-year occupation of his country, and intent on punishing what’s left of their army, he ruthlessly marches his squad out on the dunes each day to prod for mines. Yet this risky task soon challenges even Rasmussen, who grows more and more conflicted in his feelings toward his young charges.
War stories abound in cinema, but few have so eloquently focused on the resultant hangovers of conflict and occupation. Featuring arresting performances from the ensemble cast, and breathtaking cinematography that balances the apparent calm of the coast’s pristine beaches with the nerve-wracking knowledge of what lies beneath, Zandvliet’s powerful and morally complex tale is riveting viewing, with a potency that echoes Peter Weir’s Gallipoli and Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker but an impact truly of its own.
LAND OF MINE received its World Premiere as the Opening Night film of the Toronto Film Festival’s Platform Competition, deservedly won the Audience Prizes of several major international festivals and dominated the 2016 Danish Film Awards, taking out Best Film, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing and Cinematography. It demands to be seen on the big screen.