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 (email@example.com)
The use of German children for post WW2 mine sweeping has by many historians been declared as the worst case of war crimes ever conducted by the Danish state. Specifically, it is explicitly forbidden in the Geneva Conventions that any Prisoner of War be forced to perform dangerous and/or unhealthy labor. See more »
In the opening scene after Sgt. Rasmussen takes a flag from a German soldier we see him yelling at another soldier with nothing in his hands.
In the next shot the flag is back in his hand. See more »
Several World War II stories are not told in the books, being forgotten over time. Inspired by true events, the film Under Sandet (original title) or Land of Mine (in English) addresses one of these reports, which occurred in Denmark after the war. Fearing that a possible Allied invasion would take place from the Danish coast, Nazi Germany filled the entire length of Denmark's west coast with over 1.5 million mines. With the German surrender and the end of the war in May 1945, more than 2,000 German prisoners of war were sent to disarm those landmines. The story focuses on a small group of young Germans who have the hard and dangerous task of clearing 45,000 mines from a danish beach to gain freedom.
The film, written and directed by Martin Zandvliet, is an excellent motion picture, managing to bring to the screen a work with a new approach, although all the other war films ever made before. With an original script, the director succeeds to convey the bitterness brought by five years of Nazi occupation in Denmark. He also portrays the exploitation of children dragged into war. One of the great successes of Zandvliet's direction and script is to show the war cycles: the winners, the danes, start to adopt the brutal practices of the losers, the Germans. It was precisely for situations like this that the Second World War broke out. France and other winning countries of World War required repairs and imposed absurd sanctions to Germany.
The photography, by Camilla Hjelm, is to behold. And here, again, we have to highlight the director's work. The use of long shot captures the beautiful danish landscape, while more intimate moments allow us to monitor the interactions among those soldiers. Maintaining an intense pace, the tranquility and vastness of the beach are contrasted, at all times, with the danger that awaits them "under the sand", expression that names the film. The soundtrack is catchy and at times heartbreaking, fitting in the drama narrated in the film.
One of the elements that makes Land of Mine a memorable experience is the excellent performance of Roland Møller, playing the role of Sergeant Carl Rasmussen, protagonist of the story. Responsible to oversee the group of German soldiers, Carl struggle to separate his military duties from the hatred he feels for the old enemy. The actor delivered a complex character, moody, bitter and angry, but at the same time which has not lost humanity that exists within him. The rest of the cast was also well chosen and psychologically developed, in which the actors who play the soldiers have different personalities.
With a philosophical discussion about military conflicts as well as being very intense and beautiful, Under Sandet gives us a real view of the complexities of the Second World War and human behavior.
Originally posted in: https://vikingbyheart.blogspot.com.br
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