“Land of Mine” is the latest film from Danish director-writer Martin Zandvliet. It’s one of the few films to document the aftermath of World War II. It’s already received awards and has been named as Denmark’s entry in the Oscar foreign-language film competition. The Nordisk film is being distributed in the US by Sony Pictures Classics.
The film is set following the surrender of the Nazis in May 1945. German POWs in Denmark were forced by Allied soldiers to clear the millions of land mines planted by the German army. Many of the German POWs were teenagers with no training in defusing explosives. Most of the prisoners were either killed or severely wounded.
Zandvliet uses this historic setting to tell a story about love and hate, revenge and reconciliation. In the process he asks, can you be sympathetic to those who were the enemy?
Zandvliet says that he wanted to see what would happen to a patriot who loves his country and hates his enemy and is then placed in charge of something that conflicts with what he thought his country stood for and what he thought he stood for himself. The sergeant in the film hates the Nazis after they occupied his country for five years. But he starts to doubt what it is he is fighting for.
The Germans placed the mines, so it only makes sense that they should be the ones to remove them. Zandvliet says he probably would have made the Germans clean up the mines, too. But he hopes he would have treated them with respect, supplied them with food, given them proper training for the job they were doing and allowed them the “dignity that all human beings deserve.”
He said that he felt the point of the film is that an eye-for-an-eye mentality “ultimately makes losers of us all.”
Zandvliet is now working on “The Outsider” set in post-World War II Japan. It stars Jared Leto, Rory Cochrane, and Tadanobu Asano, Variety reported.
“Land of Mine” stars Roland Miller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman and Mikkel Boe Foelsgaar.