You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

PopPolitics: How Post-World War II Story ‘Land of Mine’ Is a Warning for Europe Today

The Danish movie “Land of Mine,” nominated for a foreign-language Oscar this year, is in many ways a local story of the teenage German POWs who, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, are forced to defuse tens of thousands of land mines planted along Denmark’s coast.

But director Martin Zandvliet and producer Mikael Rieks tell Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM that the movie is also a warning sign of the dangers of European disunion.

“It kind of scares me because in the beginning, [the movie] was about the way I saw our nation portraying itself,” Zandvliet says of the response to the film in Europe. “But it also was about the things going on in Europe, about closing down Europe, talking about building a wall around Europe and not letting the Syrian refugees in.”

He said that “when people see it, they don’t just see it as a dusty old period piece. Try to make it as contemporary and emotional as possible. They are feelings that we still have.” He said that he was “kind of shocked about how relevant” the movie is given that so much reflects hate and fear.

Rieks says, “It is very very important to note that the longest period of peace in European history has been the past 70 years, because nations are united. United Nations. United States. United Europe. And now we are afraid this will all go up in smoke and close our borders. That is why I think on a very local scale this movie is very global.”

The movie focuses on a Danish sergeant (Roland Moller) who supervises a group of German POWs tasked with defusing the mines. The sergeant has a hatred for the Germans, but gradually gains some sympathy for his POWs, all of them teenage boys who have long odds of ever getting to return home. In total, 2,000 POWs were assigned to diffuse 1.5 million landmines, according to some estimates, and casualties were high.

Listen below:

Stars Speaking Out

Steve Ross, the author of “Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics,” is skeptical that celebrities are all that effective in changing minds when they speak out about President Donald Trump.

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs 2-3 p.m. ET/11-noon PT on SiriusXM’S political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

More Film

  • Vice Christian Bale Sam Rockwell Playback

    'Vice' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

    Reviews are in for Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic, and it’s not all awards-season buzz. Despite garnering six nominations for this year’s Golden Globes, McKay’s kitschy approach to the politically charged film has polarized reviewers, prompting a mix of scathing critiques and celebratory praise for the director’s distinct film style. What critics can agree on, however, [...]

  • Lena Waithe Brian Tyree Henry

    Lena Waithe, Brian Tyree Henry to Present $125k in Annual Film Independent Grants

    Writer-creator Lena Waithe and actor Brian Tyree Henry will present a quarter of a million dollars in filmmaker grants come January as hosts of the annual Independent Spirit Awards nominee brunch. Waithe, this year’s Spirit Awards honorary chair, and Henry will dole out the prizes in four categories, including a $50,000 unrestricted grant for a [...]

  • Piero Tosi Luchino Visconti

    How Costume Designer Piero Tosi Dressed Up Cinema

    One of international cinema’s undisputed greats in costume design, Piero Tosi’s work first faced the awards season spotlight 64 years ago with only his third film, Luchino Visconti’s masterwork “Senso,” which competed for the Golden Lion in Venice in 1954. Nominated for five Oscars for costume design and recipient of an honorary Oscar in 2013, [...]

  • RYAN GOSLING as Neil Armstrong in

    Big Breakthroughs Seen in Below-the-Line Categories

    Is 2018 an anomaly, or is it a harbinger of things to come? The awards derbies of recent years have seen a predominance of indie films at the expense of big studio features — resulting in a slate of Oscar contenders devoid not only of genuine blockbusters but also of more modest mid-budget crowd-pleasers. This [...]

  • Fox Germany Veteran Vincent De La

    Fox Germany Veteran Vincent De La Tour Heading to Paramount Pictures

    20th Century Fox veteran Vincent de la Tour is joining Paramount Pictures in a role covering Austria, Germany and Switzerland. He will be executive vice president for theatrical and home media for those territories, overseeing the local teams and reporting to Cameron Saunders, Paramount’s EVP of international theatrical distribution, and Bob Buchi, president of worldwide [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Oscar Noise Dominated by Academy Itself, Not the Movies

    For most of its 91 years, Oscar has been surrounded by hoopla. Now it’s surrounded by noise, which isn’t the same thing. For decades, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ attitude toward the media was: “Don’t talk about the organization; instead, talk about the creative members and their movies.” But in the internet [...]

  • Crazy Rich Asians

    Diverse Lineup of Actors Jostle for Awards Attention

    It’s been less than four years since #OscarsSoWhite became a hot topic at the Academy Awards after 2015 films like “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” failed to land major nominations for people of color. (It actually began the year before but picked up steam when, for the second year in a row, no people of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content