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In February of 2009, a group of Danish soldiers accompanied by documentarian Janus Metz arrived at Armadillo, an army base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. Metz and cinematographer Lars Skree spent six months following the lives of young soldiers situated less than a kilometre from Taliban positions. The result of their work is a gripping and highly authentic war drama that was justly awarded the Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique at the 2010 Cannes film festival. But it also provoked furious debate in Denmark concerning the controversial behavior of certain Danish soldiers during a shoot-out with Taliban fighters. The film-makers repeatedly risked their lives shooting this tense, brilliantly edited, and visually sophisticated probe into the psychology of young men in the midst of a senseless war whose victims are primarily local villagers. Yet more disturbing than scenes in which Taliban bullets whiz past their cameras is the footage of the young soldiers as each ... Written by
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
This deserves the award it won at Cannes. Our theater is only showing this for a few days, it seems, although they have now doubled the amount of showings. It was packed when I went. Maybe this will aid in the situation and approach finally being reevaluated, because it clearly is hopeless right now; if you weren't certain, this will cement it for you. This has some of the best photography I've ever witnessed, and not only for a documentary. I find it hard to believe that the cameramen were always entirely safe during this. This Danish piece of non-fiction depicts six months at the Armadillo base in the Helmand province. We see the young men in various moods, a handful of them expected, others not. They entertain themselves and each other, they get bored, they express a desire to help in the war... and reveal their excitement at the idea of combat. Dark humor and porn are used to deal with what they go through. This is funny at times, but it also hits you quite hard. It is a commentary on, among other things, the human psyche. The choice of form could not be more perfect; this is immensely objective, and the facts speak for themselves. No one is painted as a monster. It would appear that, when someone expressed their emotions and it was captured, it was put in the film. The editing is spot-on. This has an always well-composed, effective and fitting score. They use lingo occasionally, and each time a new term is said, we get an explanation of it. Every word spoken that is not in Danish is either subtitled or translated by an interpreter. I think it takes a bit of empathy and maturity to understand this. There is a lot of violence and disturbing content, as well as a little strong language, nudity and sexuality in this. I recommend this to everyone old enough for it. 10/10
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