Martin Zandvliet Q&A: ‘Land of Mine’ director
“It’s a huge honor,” admits “Land of Mine” writer-director Martin Zandvliet when asked during our recent webcam chat (watch above) about his Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Set in the immediate aftermath of WWII, the film focuses on a Danish sergeant (Roland Moller) in charge of a group of young German POWs who are forced to remove landmines from beaches with their bare hands.
Zandvliet, the Danish-born director of such films as “Applause” (2009) and “A Funny Man” (2011), reveals he got the idea from reflecting on his homeland’s past. “I thought our nation, like any other nation, had a tendency of portraying themselves from the good side,” he divulges. “I knew there were dark chapters in our history as well, and I wanted to tell one of these.”
He first came across the story, “by accident,” while, “googling about something else.” When he learned about how the Danish Pioneer Corps forced Germans to clear the mines from WWII, “that wasn’t enough to make a movie about, but when I found out that they used boys, I thought that this might turn into a movie, and I thought it was important enough to tell.”
“Land of Mine” competes at the Oscars against “A Man Called Ove,” “The Salesman,” “Tanna,” and “Toni Erdmann.”