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Land of Mine (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

May 26, 2017 by  



Martin Zandvliet’s “Land of Mine” is a thought-provoking post-war film with a strong message for humanity that militaristic actions which happened after World War II with enemy POWs should never be repeated. “Land of Mine” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Nordisk Film Production. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Land of Mine

YEAR OF FILM: 2015

DURATION: 101 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, German, English – Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: R (Violence, Some Grisly Images and Language)

AVAILABLE ON: June 6, 2017


Directed by Martin Zandvliet

Screenplay by Martin Zandvliet

Produced by Malte Grunert, Mikael Chr. Rieks

Executive Produced by Daniel Baur, Oliver Simon, Henrik Zein

Line Producer: Arno Neubauer, Louise Birk Petersen

Music by Sune Martin

Cinematography by Camilla Hjelm

Edited by Per Sandholt, Molly Marlene Stensgaard

Casting by Simone Bar

Production Design by Gitte Malling

Art Direction by Malina Ionescu

Set Decoration by Katja Schlomer

Art Direction by Seth Turner

Set Decoration by Kay Anthony

Costume Design by Stefanie Baker, Claudia Maria Braun


Starring:

Roland Miller as Sgt. Carl Rasmussen

Louis Hoffman as Sebastian Schmann

Joel Basman as Helmut Morbach

Mikkel Boe Folsgaard as Lt. Ebbe Jensen

Laura Bro as Karin

Zoe Zandvliet as Elisabeth

Oskar Bokelmann as Ludwig Haffke

Emil Belton as Ernst Lessner

Oskar Belton as Werner Lessner

Leon Seidel as Wilhelm Hahn

Karl Alexander Seidel as Manfred

Maximilian Beck as August Kluger

August Carter as Rudolf Seike

Tim Bulow as Hermann Marklein

Alexander Rasch as Friedrich as Schnurr


As World War II comes to an end, a group of young German POWs is captured by the Danish army and forced to defuse and clear 2 million land mines from the Danish coast. With little to no training, the boys soon discover that the war is far from over. Inspired by true events, LAND OF MINE exposes the untold story about the young men who faced overwhelming odds in a post-war world.


Fight the monsters who you are against in war.  But does one turn into the same kind of monster that you are fighting against when your country has the other country’s Prisoner of War (POW)?

For the Danish-German film “Land of Mine”, filmmaker/screenwriter Martin Zandvliet (“A Funny Man”, “Applause”, “Teddy Bear”) takes on that question in his war film that sympathizes with the prisoners of war.

As Nazi German soldiers buried around two million mines around the Danish Coast during their occupation and because of the danger these mines were to the public, the Danish Army used German POWs (a decision by the British military who controlled the area and a violation of the Geneva Convention), the majority of the POWs who were boys to defuse and clear as many mines.

Hated because they are German, there was no sympathy towards these boys because they were German soldiers.  And nearly half of the German POWs were killed or injured with permanent or serious disabilities during the operation.

Today, the subject is still debated as others say the POWs, despite their young age, were experienced soldiers who participated in Nazi atrocities, while others argue that these were kids that were innocent and inexperienced.

For Denmark, it was their belief that the Germans put the mines in the area, they should be responsible for removing them.  And most believed that Germans had no rights and could not expect any mercy after the war’s end.

“Land of Mine” is set days following the surrender of Germany in May 1945 and German POW’s were handed over to Danish authorities out to the West Coast of Denmark where more than two million mines were placed by Germans in the sand along the coast.

Danish Sgt. Carl Leopold Rasmussen (portrayed by Roland Moller) receives a group of 14 German POWs, expecting a group of men but instead they are teenage boys.  These boys were trained for three days by the Danish Army and sent to take on the job by crawling in the sand with their bare hands and removing the pin and explosive from each mine.

Sgt. Rasmussen and many of the locals and soldiers of the Danish army have no sympathy towards the Germans and these boys are rarely fed and work long exhausting shifts.  Because the training was insufficient, we see these young soldiers beg for a break because they are ill, some who feel they rather die because they feel they will never go back home.

But because these boys are not men, should they be treated inhumanely, especially if they have nothing to do with the German occupation of Denmark?  This is the conflict that Sgt. Rasmussen must deal with.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Land of Mine” is presented in 2:40:1 anamorphic widescreen and in German/English 5.1 Dolby Digital with English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.

Picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and I didn’t notice any major artifacts or problems with video. Dialogue is primarily dialogue-driven with surround channels is primarily used for ambiance and mine detonations.

But for the most part, picture and audio quality on DVD is very good.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Land of Mine” comes with the following special features:

  • In Conversation with Director Martin Zandvliet – (17:50) Post-screening Q&A with director/writer Martin Zandvliet.
  • Theatrical Trailer

For anyone who has experienced, watched or learned about war, we often learn about the dirty things about war.  Especially for one’s home country, you learn through school or through cinema of the atrocities committed by the enemy in World War II.

For those of us who grew up in America, we learn about the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany.

But in the case of Denmark, given thousands of German POWs, with the majority of them being young teenage boys, the Danish Army didn’t look at their ages, they pretty much felt that because Nazi German buried over two million mines throughout the Western Coast, the Germans should be responsible for removing them.

And because of the large influx of German POWs, these teenage boys would be responsible for removing them.

What filmmaker/screenwriter Martin Zandvliet does well is showing sympathy to these German POWs.  There is no denying that Nazi Germany did a lot of atrocious things but when you watch “Land of Mine”, you think that these are just children.  Teenagers who were either led to believe they should join the military for the good of their country or their evil leader.  But many of these kids, can they be blamed for what the adults have done?  Are these kids to be seen in the same light as the adults?

We see the change within Sgt. Carl Rasmussen, a hard-edge soldier who could care less about the Germans but when he gets children not men, who are assigned to him to clear out the mines, we see how he’s hard on them, he could care less if they are sick and makes them work.  But when he sees these children dying, getting their bodies blown up, seeing brothers separated and the look on their faces of no hope but death, it gets to him.

This is the ugliness of war.  Even with the Geneva Convention, after World War II, these countries despised the enemies and could care less of their POWs and it was unfortunate that Allied forces were doing some of the things that Germans were being prosecuted for.

Overall, Martin Zandvliet’s “Land of Mine” is a thought-provoking post-war film with a strong message for humanity that militaristic actions which happened after World War II with enemy POWs should never be repeated.

“Land of Mine” is recommended!







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