Commemorated this year on their 70th anniversary, the Normandy landings marked the beginning of the end of WW2. Less than a year later, Hitler's war was over, and the day of reckoning had come.
Martin Zandvliet's "Land of Mine", starting principal shooting in July, focuses on a sensitive chapter in Danish postwar history.
Changes His View of the Enemy
Taking place in May 1945 only a few days after the end of the war, the film tells the story of how a group of German prisoners of war were brought to Denmark and forced to disarm the two million land mines that had been scattered along the West Coast by the German occupying forces.
In charge of the enfeebled young men performing the dangerous task with their bare hands is Sergeant Carl Leopold Rasmussen. Like so many of his fellow Danes, he has a deep hatred for the Germans after having suffered five years of hardships during the occupation. He lets his rage rain down on the prisoners, until one day a tragic incident makes him change his view of the enemy even if it may be too late.
First Title Role for Roland Møller
"'Land of Mine' is about hate, revenge and forgiveness," director Martin Zandvliet explains. The film is inspired by true events according to which presumably more than 2000 German soldiers were forced to clear mines along the Danish West coast, and more than half were killed or seriously maimed.
"The film is not an attempt to point fingers or create collective guilt. Rather, I want to show how a population's hatred caused fear and terror among a group of young boys who really only had one sole desire: to come home to their mothers and fathers."
Roland Møller takes his first lead as the Danish sergeant in charge of the prisoners. Making his screen debut in Tobias Lindholm and Michael Noer's prison drama "R", Møller went on to perform in Lindholm's "A Hijacking" and Noer's "Northwest". The rest of the cast will be revealed closer to production start.
Director Martin Zandvliet, who is now making his third feature after his critically acclaimed "A Funny Man" (2011) and "Applause" (2009), is also behind the script, and Mikael Rieks is producing for Nordisk Film.
"Land of Mine" is supported by the Danish Film Institute and will be released in 2015.