Martin Zandvliet’s drama Land of Mine has been selected as Denmark’s official entry to the Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards 2017.
The film, which tells a different story of WWII, based on real events, was chosen from a shortlist of three titles that also included Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Commune” and Lisa Ohlin’s “Walk with Me.”
Land of Mine stars Roland Møller, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Louis Hofmann, and Joel Basman.
In the days following the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945, German POWs in Denmark were put to work by their Allied captors. With minimal training in defusing explosives, they were forced to remove millions of their own landmines from the west coast of Denmark.
Director Martin Zandvliet uses this historical footnote as the entry to a story that involves love, hate, revenge and reconciliation. As a ragged group of German POWs are dropped off by trucks at the seaside, we see that most are only in their teens. There to greet them is the bullish Sergeant Rasmussen. Scornful of the Germans for their brutal five-year occupation of his country, and intent on punishing what’s left of their army, he marches the squad out onto the dunes each day to prod for mines. This seemingly endless task soon starts to look like a bloodletting, and Rasmussen grows conflicted in his feelings toward the young boys.
Land of Mine is Zandvliet’s third feature, following 2009’s Applause and 2011’s A Funny Man, which both screened at the Toronto Film Festival.
Land of Mine had at its world premiere at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival and its American festival premiere in January at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.