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Under sandet (2015)

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In post-World War II Denmark, a group of young German POWs are forced to clear a beach of thousands of land mines under the watch of a Danish Sergeant who slowly learns to appreciate their plight.

Director:

Martin Zandvliet
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Popularity
4,373 ( 175)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 27 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Roland Møller ... Sgt. Carl Rasmussen
Louis Hofmann ... Sebastian Schumann
Joel Basman ... Helmut Morbach
Mikkel Boe Følsgaard ... Lt. Ebbe Jensen
Laura Bro ... Karin
Zoe Zandvliet Zoe Zandvliet ... Elisabeth, Karins Daughter (as Zoé Zandvliet)
Mads Riisom Mads Riisom ... Soldier Peter
Oskar Bökelmann Oskar Bökelmann ... Ludwig Haffke
Emil Belton Emil Belton ... Ernst Lessner
Oskar Belton Oskar Belton ... Werner Lessner
Leon Seidel Leon Seidel ... Wilhelm Hahn
Karl Alexander Seidel Karl Alexander Seidel ... Manfred
Maximilian Beck Maximilian Beck ... August Kluger
August Carter August Carter ... Rudolf Selke
Tim Bülow Tim Bülow ... Hermann Marklein
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Storyline

In post-World War II Denmark, the Danish government puts their hated German prisoners of war to work clearing the 1.5 million land mines from the western beaches of the country. At one such beach, Sgt. Carl Leopold Rasmussen finds himself in charge of one such labor unit and finds they are largely all inexperienced boys. As the boys struggle to complete and survive their dangerous work, Sgt. Rasmussen's hate for Germans gradually cools as he grows to understand the horrific situation these child soldiers are in even as the mines claim more and more victims. Eventually, the boys and the Sergeant must decide what can be done in a situation that would be later be denounced by later generations as the worst war crime in Danish history. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They survived World War II. Now they have to survive the clearing. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, some grisly images, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Denmark | Germany

Language:

German | Danish | English

Release Date:

3 December 2015 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Land of Mine See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DKK 35,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,754, 12 February 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$435,266, 25 May 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,164,333, 6 August 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)| DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot at historically authentic locations, including in Oksbøllejren and areas in Varde. See more »

Goofs

The boys keep having the same 'fresh' haircut throughout the movie (that covers three months). It's unlikely that they had a hairdresser around, or even a pair of scissors. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Carl Rasmussen: Those of you who count the mines, make sure my card is updated. This task is as important as defusing mines.
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User Reviews

 
Some of the most heart-pulse racing moments you can have in a war history story that needs to be told.
29 March 2017 | by CineMuseFilmsSee all my reviews

In matters of war, no nation is free of guilt. Regardless of whether they are produced by victorious or vanquished countries, the better war films set out facts, acknowledge wrongdoing, express regret, and seek atonement. Many of them put guilt and culpability onto the widescreen so that current and future generations may learn from the past. This is the psychological space in which we find the extraordinary Danish-German war film Land of Mine (2016).

It is 1945 and the war is over, but the beautiful Danish coastline has two million deadly mines left buried in the sand by the Nazi occupation. Danish Sergeant Carl Rasmussen (Roland Møller) is assigned a squad of fourteen German prisoners of war who must clear a beach that contains 45,000 active mines. The Sergeant's treatment of the teenage boys is initially brutal: they live and work in terrible conditions, are practically starved and constantly reminded that everyone in Denmark hates them and nobody cares if they live or die. Their task is to crawl along the beach by hand, poking a stick in the sand to locate mines, then defuse them before they explode. Inevitably, many failed. With echoes of Stockholm syndrome, both captor and captives find glimpses of humanity in each other that leads to Rasmussen being suspected by his tormenting superiors of going soft on the Germans. He must walk the fine line between military obedience, personal hatred of Nazis, and his growing compassion and realisation that these are just boys who were conscripted into battle. His characterisation and its transition from hatred to acceptance frames the narrative of this high-tension drama.

Stunningly realistic cinematography with minute attention to detail amplifies the horror of this story. The acting is remarkable from a mostly unknown cast and Rasmussen's performance captures the very essence of moral conflict. The mine-clearing proceeds inch-by-agonising-inch, and the film's plot line inches forward at a similar pace. With camera at sand-level, we see close-up images of teenage warriors with beads of terror trickling down their faces as their sand-covered fingers slowly un-screw a detonator from a mine, knowing that an explosion will tear their body to pieces. These are some of the most heart-pulse racing moments you can experience through film. This is not entertainment nor is it for faint-hearted viewers; several scenes are horrific.

Most war films glorify battle or corner us into cheering one side or the other. This film presents an exquisite conundrum: was it morally acceptable for the Danish military to force German POWs to remove the deadly mines that the Nazi army left behind, knowing that most will die or be maimed? Or should this deadly work have been carried out by Danish soldiers? Was the inhumane treatment of teenage soldiers justifiable, regardless of the brutality of the Nazi occupation of Denmark? In the light of such questions, is this film one of justification or a confessional that seeks atonement? Land of Mine shines a bright light on what has hitherto been a dark secret of Danish history. It is a powerful and important story.


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