Directed by Martin Zandvliet
4th – 10th August 2017
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Land Of Mine was originally called ‘Under The Sand’ but I am not sure why the title was changed. Both are acceptable given that the film, based on a true-life period immediately following the Second World War, is centred upon a group of young, very young, German soldiers, who were assigned by the Danish authorities to clear hundreds of thousands, totalling almost two million, land mines placed under the sands of the Danish coastline.
What I found hard to fathom though is why the Danish allowed the Nazis to lay the mines in the first place, offering no resistance to their operations.
What was not referred to in the movies was the fact that the British armed forces strongly suggested that the German POWs should be forced to do this high-risk task. It was a breach of the Geneva Convention.
They were mainly boys aged 15 or 16-years-old, who were coerced into joining the German army by the SS.
Of the 2000 plus POWs involved, you only see a small proportion of them, twenty or so, dealing with mine clearing on a stretch of the coast. Over 50% of them were killed or wounded carrying out this grotesque undertaking.
You ask the question, if not the Germans, who the Danish and British regarded as cannon fodder, who else would have been given this deadly work of locating and defusing the buried mines?
There is an almost endless repetition of the POWs each day dismantling the explosive devices but it does not lessen the tension, no matter how many times you see them do so.
A good phrase to sum up Land Of Mine is to describe it as the echo of the end of the war still loudly resonating….
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