DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Land of Mine (Under Sandet)

A genuinely anti-war movie: released almost simultaneously as Dunkirk and also set on a European beach during WW2, this outstanding Danish-German production highlights the pointlessness of the conflict - in cinemas

A war film should never be pleasant to watch, or convey feelings of grandiosity, pride and nationalism. There is no winner: everyone loses out at such conflicts. Land of Mine is extremely successful at highlighting the pointlessness of WW2 in all of its bizarre territoriality and forged allegiances. You won’t leave the cinema feeling enchanted and elated. Instead you will feel shocked and outraged, which is exactly what a war film should do.

The film starts out with Danish Sergeant Carl Leopold Rasmussen (Roland Møller) leading surrendered German troops out of the country in May 1945 and beating a few soldiers in the process. You would be forgiven for mistaking him for a Nazi: he speaks German, screams in a way not dissimilar to Hitler and embraces gratuitous and unprovoked violence. It’s almost as if the hitherto humiliated Danish took pleasure in becoming the oppressor, even if it’s just for a little while.

The Sergeant in then allocated to a beach where he has to supervise 14 German teenagers, who’ve been sent in order to clear some of of the 2.2 million mines placed by the German on the Danish coast – more than in any other European country. These boys are cleaning up the mess that their parents made in their neighbours’ garden. They have little understanding of the conflict. They don’t dream of world domination and instead just long for a job as mechanic upon their return home. But obviously not all of them will survive the ordeal. They are a testament that the Germans may have been prepared to go to war, but they were never prepared to lose the war.

No slippery fingers, shaky hands, hesitant thoughts and vacillating minds are allowed; the consequences of any minor error are obviously disastrous, ranging from severe mutilation to a horrific death. And so these untrained and emotionally immature boys begin to die, one by one. The Danish filmmaker Martin Zanvliet opted to show just one violent and gory death, which is extremely graphic and disturbing in its realism. It does the job of shell shocking viewers extremely well. But because there is no repetition, the violence is never fetishised and exploitative.

At war, there is no room solidarity and compassion, particularly towards the enemy. The sentiments that are the very foundation of our humanity become subversive. This explains why Sergeant Paul exhibits no sympathy for the young boys. He’s at ease in his sadistic skin, and grapples uncomfortably with the feelings of kindness and altruism. But Land of Mine has a very nice surprise in store for you at the very end.

Land of Mine isn’t the only WW2 movie set on an European beach and showing in UK cinemas right now. You can watch the far more celebratory and momentous Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017) in movie theatres across the UK. Land on Mine is out on Friday, August 11th.


By Victor Fraga - 31-07-2017

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Ian Christie dissects Powell and Pressburger

 

Victor Fraga - 27-02-2024

Film historian Ian Christie talks to DMovies' editor Victor Fraga about 21st century audiences and their relation to the iconic British filmmaking duo, P&P's influence on other artists, the late Queen, and much more - read our exclusive interview, in partnership with Doesn't Exist [Read More...]

Baldiga – Unlocked Heart (Baldiga – Entsichertes Herz)

Markus Stein
2024

Daniel Theophanous - 26-02-2024

Queer photographer from Germany openly exposed his life in a bid to remove HIV stigma from generations to come - from the Panorama Dokumente section of the Berlinale [Read More...]

Crowning the dirtiest movies: our verdict of the 74th Berlinale

 

Victor Fraga - 26-02-2024

Our editor Victor Fraga attended the 74th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival as a journalist and also the producer of a film in the Panorama section; this is what he thought of the event [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *