Films: Armadillo

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Armadillo

Armadillo

Denmark, 2010, 100 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Political, War
Program: Documentary Films
Language: Danish/English/Pashto English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Janus Metz
Producer: Ronnie Fridthjof, Sara Stockmann
Editor: Per K. Kirkegaard
Cinematographer: Lars Skree
Principal Cast: 

From Danish filmmaker Janus Metz comes this gritty documentary about Denmark’s participation in the war in Afghanistan. Named for the Danish-British base that houses 170 soldiers on a humanitarian mission, it follows a young platoon from its departure in Denmark to its arrival in Helmand Province in 2009, where daily life is marked by tedium. Though the threat of encountering Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) on the roadsides and in the fields the recruits patrol is constant, it’s overshadowed by the endless hours of watching and waiting; they are ready to see some action.

It comes all too soon when their platoon commander is hit by an IED and evacuated with a severe head wound. The elusive Taliban have been using civilian compounds to launch their attacks, but villagers are unwilling to provide information, fearing for their lives. As one local observes, the soldiers will leave—but the Taliban will return with a vengeance. As their frustration mounts, the troops step up their patrols in an attempt to catch the Taliban off-guard—only to find civilians in their crosshairs. One deadly encounter in particular leaves the young soldiers elated—but has since led to controversy surrounding the supposedly humanitarian mission. However, the vivid and shocking glimpse of combat offered by Metz and cinematographer Per K. Kirkegaard is simply that; engagement in commentary on the war and its consequences is left to the audience.
—Gigi Haycock

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