Monday, August 01, 2016

Land of Mine

Land of Mine dramatises a little-known slice of post-World War 2 history -  German POWs were assigned to clearing mines from the Danish Coast in 1945. This has a sort of poetic justice since it was the German Army that laid the mines if the first place, but if Land of Mine has anything to teach us, it's that war is generally unjust and that it brutalises both sides.

The small group of POWs in Land of Mine are only teenagers and they are scared of their job, and scared of their Danish sergeant. They're billeted on a farm on an achingly beautiful stretch of coast with white sand and turquoise water. The woman farmer is being paid by the Danish Army to feed the troops, but she just pockets the money. So the boys are hungry and the work is dangerous but on the other hand they're outdoors,the weather is ok and they're not being shot at.

 It's hard to explain why a film about clearing mines from Danish beaches is my favourite of the festival so far and why you should see it, especially since a significant number of people do get blown up. I think it's the contrast of youth and and beauty (both the landscape and the soldiers) and age and brutality. And the paradox of the sergeant bawling his charges out for minor misdemeanors (such as apologising) one minute and playing football with them on the beach in another. I can't promise you a happy ending exactly but let's say there are enough acts of human kindness to leave you with a sense of hope.

Anne's rating 4.5/5, Ian's rating 4.5/5

No comments:

Post a Comment