This Danish film proved a hit at the Scandinavian Film Festival in Sydney last year and was also nominated for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards. An arresting post World War II drama which should leave audiences emotionally drained.
After the war in May 1945, over 2000 German prisoners of war were forced to remove over one and a half million mines from the coastal beaches of Denmark which had been buried by German forces. The majority were teenagers and half of these wretched souls died or were seriously injured.
This film details the perilous training of a group of 14 teenage German prisoners of war who ultimately, under the supervision of hateful Danish Sergeant Carl (Roland Moller), endured physical and mental torment whilst forced to remove 45,000 mines from the beaches.
Powerful and authentic, this film is suspenseful and contains many heart-stopping and violently distressing sequences. The Sergeant’s transitional attitude towards these young German soldiers is explored, as he comes to realize they are merely young children who cry out for their mothers when anguished.
Denmark may have been under terrifying German occupation for 15 years, but audiences will find it difficult not to feel sentiment for these young traumatized soldiers.
This untold dark chapter in WWII has been masterfully transformed into a cinematic event which resonates the tragedy and more importantly, the idiocy of war (MMo)