Sydney Film Festival: Land of Mine

Lauren Thomas
31st May 2016

Land of Mine director Martin Pieter Zandvliet has made a detailed and in depth film that will touch the hearts of all who watch it. Confronting as much as it is edifying, Zandvliet leaves no detail uncovered in this heart-stopping drama which was the recipient of both the Bodil and Robert Awards for best Danish Film.

Set in the late 1940s, Land of Mine is a film based on true events, which shows the heart breaking aftermath of World War II on the German Prisoners of War. Expect to be taken on an intense, emotional roller coaster as you watch the  story of 14 young German prisoners expected to search for and deactivate up to 45,000 land mines on a beach in Denmark.

Watching this film will have you forget that it has professional actors behind a camera as you struggle to differentiate what is real and what is performance. Roland Moller showcases an incredible performance as Sergeant Carl. You will follow his transition from hatred to mercy, from careless to caring towards the young soldiers when he facilitates a rapport with the young men despite having orders against it.

Struggling to no longer be the cold, emotionless Sergeant he is expected to be from his superior, the emotional journey Moller portrays is awe-inspiring; The events are seen through the eyes of a leader who is expected to enforce discipline and authority with no remorse despite having his own internal battle of what is right and wrong.

Authentic and raw at its best, Land of Mine is not for the faint hearted as you watch the devastating consequences of war, racism and abuse of power and control. Gripping as much as it is eye opening, the film presents an emotional journey between sergeant and soldier and a glimpse on how humanity can surface at even the darkest of times where hatred once prevailed.

The audience develops an attachment to the young boys in the film, watching their painful existence as POW where they are stripped of their rights, freedom and dignity. Deprived of food, water and love, the lives of these young men are put at risk every day where one wrong move could cost them a limb or worse, their death. In a world where their only hope of freedom is to do what they are told, you will be following them on their dangerous journey to get back what belongs to them.

This film will have you holding your breath with anticipation and reaching for the tissues as you watch and feel the fear, pain, vulnerability and emotional and physical hardship the young German soldiers endure on their quest for freedom.

Land of Mine is screening as part of the 2016 Sydney Film Festival. See below for screening times.