Land of Mine
|Land of Mine|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Martin Zandvliet|
|Produced by||Malte Grunert|
Mikael Chr. Rieks
|Screenplay by||Martin Zandvliet|
|Music by||Sune Martin|
|Cinematography||Camilla Hjelm Knudsen|
|Edited by||Per Sandholt|
Molly Malene Stensgaard
|Distributed by||Nordisk Film|
|Budget||35.5 million DKK|
|Box office||$3.1 million|
Land of Mine (Danish: Under sandet, lit. 'Under the Sand') is a 2015 Danish-German historical drama war film directed by Martin Zandvliet. It was shown in the Platform section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. It was selected and nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 89th Academy Awards. The film is inspired by real events and tells the story of German prisoners of war sent to clear land mines in Denmark after World War II. It is estimated that over two thousand German soldiers, including numerous teenagers, under the command of German Officers but against the regulations of the Geneva Conventions, removed mines, with nearly half of them either getting killed or being wounded. The removal was part of a controversial agreement between the German Commander General Georg Lindemann, the Danish Government and the British Armed Forces, under which German soldiers with experience in defusing mines would be in charge of clearing the mine fields. Historians have criticised the film for showing German soldiers clearing mines under the command of Danish officers, which never happened.
Following the end of World War II in Europe and the liberation of Denmark from German occupation in May 1945, the defeated Wehrmacht evacuates the country. A Danish sergeant, Carl Leopold Rasmussen, angrily harasses a German prisoner of war carrying a Danish flag. A group of young German prisoners are handed over to the Danish Army and sent to the west coast, where they are trained to remove the mines that the Germans had buried in the sand. With their bare hands, the boys are forced to perform the dangerous work by Rasmussen. They are warned not to expect any sympathy from the Danes, who resent their former occupiers. Rasmussen shares this contempt and he is determined to treat the young prisoners without sympathy.
Rasmussen is rude to and contemptuous of them and the neighbouring household treats them with hostility. After marching his squad onto the dunes, he promises that they will return home in three months, if they can each defuse six mines per hour. Rasmussen begins to grow conflicted in his feelings and Sebastian Schumann, leader of the boys, attempts to remain optimistic; the boys discuss their plans for when they return home.
The POWs are not given food due to postwar shortages and some begin to suffer from malnourishment. The optimistic Wilhelm's arms are blown off and he dies in a field hospital. After stealing food from the nearby farm, the boys are poisoned by rat droppings and Rasmussen forces them to purge themselves with seawater. Afterwards, he begins to treat them more kindly, stealing food from the base for them and reporting that Wilhelm has survived, to maintain morale. He also allows the boys to use a device invented by Sebastian to improve productivity. While clearing the beach, one of the boys forgets to separate a mine's plunger from the detonator. After Rasmussen stops a group of Allied soldiers from abusing one of the boys, he is accused of being overly sympathetic towards the Germans by Ebbe. Werner is blown to bits after encountering landmines buried one above another and his twin brother, Ernst, who is in denial, is comforted by Rasmussen.
After a casual game of football, Rasmussen's dog is blown up in a supposedly safe zone of the beach. This causes Rasmussen to snap and begin abusing the boys again. He forces them to march together across the cleared zones of the beach to confirm that they are safe. He relents after seeing Ernst save a little girl from the minefield and then commit suicide by walking onto the uncleared sand. He reassures a grieving Sebastian that they will soon be able to return. While four of the boys clear the beach of mines, a live landmine is accidentally tossed on a truckload of deactivated mines, setting a massive chain reaction and killing the other seven. Only Sebastian, Ludwig, Helmut and Rodolf remain.
Although the boys had been promised that they would be sent home after defusing all of the mines, Ebbe informs Rasmussen that he has ordered the surviving four to be sent to another area, to join a team defusing landmines without the aid of a map. Rasmussen argues with Ebbe but he refuses to rescind the order. Rasmussen rescues them, drives them within 500 meters of the German border and orders them to run to their freedom.
- Roland Møller as Sgt. Carl Leopold Rasmussen
- Mikkel Boe Følsgaard as Captain Ebbe Jensen
- Laura Bro as Karin
- Louis Hofmann as Sebastian Schumann
- Joel Basman as Helmut Morbach
- Oskar Bökelmann as Ludwig Haffke
- Emil Belton as Ernst Lessner
- Oskar Belton as Werner Lessner
- Leon Seidel as Wilhelm LeBern
- Karl Alexander Seider as Manfred
- Maximilian Beck as August Kluger
- August Carter as Rodolf Selke
- Tim Bülow as Hermann Marklein
- Alexander Rasch as Friedrich Schnurr
- Julius Kochinke as Johann Wolff
- Zoe Zandvliet as Elizabeth
Filming began in July 2014 and ended in August 2014. The film was shot at historically authentic locations, including in Oksbøllejren and areas in Varde. The use of the historical beaches led to the discovery of a real mine during the production.
Land of Mine received critical acclaim. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 91% "Certified Fresh" rating, with an average score of 7.4/10, based on reviews from 99 critics. The website's critical consensus states: "Land of Mine uses an oft-forgotten chapter from the aftermath of World War II to tell a hard-hitting story whose period setting belies its timeless observations about bloodshed and forgiveness." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The film gained a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival, with Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter stating "Director Martin Zandvliet has come up with a fresh and compelling approach to this well-traveled territory" and David D'Arcy of the Screendaily stating "Land of Mine achieves moments of chilling suspense in scenes of untrained soldiers defusing mines by hand and in the bloody bodies that leap into the air when the boys fail". Domestically it received 5 out of 6 stars from a number of critics, who all stated it was the best Danish film of the year. It was selected to play at Sundance in 2016.
|2015||Gijón International Film Festival||Audience Award||Land of Mine||Won|
|2015||Hamburg Film Festival||Art Cinema Award||Land of Mine||Nominated|
|2015||Tokyo International Film Festival||Tokyo Grand Prix||Land of Mine||Nominated|
|2015||Best Actor Award||Roland Møller & Louis Hofmann||Won|
|2015||Toronto International Film Festival||Platform Prize||Land of Mine||Nominated|
|2016||AFI Fest||World Cinema Audience Award||Land of Mine||Won|||
|2016||Bodil Awards||Best Danish Film||Land of Mine||Won|||
|2016||Best Actor||Roland Møller||Won|
|2016||Best Supporting Actor||Louis Hofmann||Won|
|2016||European Film Awards||Best Cinematographer||Camilla Hjelm Knudsen||Won|||
|2016||Best Costume Design||Stefanie Bieker||Won|
|2016||Best Hair and Make-up||Barbara Kreuzer||Won|
|2016||Gothenburg Film Festival||Best Nordic Film||Land of Mine||Won|||
|2016||Hong Kong International Film Festival||SIGNIS Awards||Land of Mine||Won|||
|2016||Miskolc International Film Festival||Adolph Zukor Prize||Land of Mine||Won|||
|2016||International Federation of Film Critics Award||Land of Mine||Won|
|2016||International Ecumenical Award||Land of Mine||Won|
|2016||Mill Valley Film Festival||World Cinema Audience Favorite||Land of Mine||2nd Place|||
|2016||Nordic Council||Nordic Council Film Prize||Land of Mine||Nominated|||
|2016||Robert Festival||Best Film||Land of Mine||Won|||
|2016||Best Director||Martin Zandvliet||Won|
|2016||Best Original Screenplay||Martin Zandvliet||Won|
|2016||Best Cinematography||Camilla Hjelm Knudsen||Won|
|2016||Best Editing||Per Sandholt & Molly Malene Stensgaard||Won|
|2016||Audience Award||Land of Mine||Won|
|2016||Best Actor||Roland Møller||Nominated|
|2016||Best Supporting Actor||Louis Hofmann||Nominated|
|2016||Best Supporting Actor||Mikkel Boe Følsgaard||Nominated|
|2016||Best Production Design||Gitte Malling||Nominated|
|2016||Best Costume Design||Stefanie Bieker||Nominated|
|2016||Best Make-Up||Barbara Kreuzer||Nominated|
|2016||Best Sound||Rasmus Winther Jensen||Nominated|
|2016||Best Original Score||Sune Martin||Nominated|
|2016||Rotterdam International Film Festival||Warsteiner Audience Award||Land of Mine||Won|||
|2016||MovieZone Award||Land of Mine||Won|
|2016||Sydney Film Festival||Audience Award||Land of Mine||2nd Place|
|2016||Sydney Film Prize||Land of Mine||Nominated|
|2017||Academy Awards||Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film||Land of Mine||Nominated|||
|2018||Australian Film Critics Association||Best International Film (Foreign Language)||Land of Mine||Nominated|||
- List of submissions to the 89th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Danish submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Ten Seconds to Hell
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- Land of Mine at Metacritic
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