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Danish doc Armadillo stirs controversy

The film’s producer Ronnie Fridthjof has now confirmed that the Danish army is commissioning an official inquiry into alleged misbehaviour by Danish soldiers.

It is not often that a film screening in Cannes can change a country’s foreign policy. That may be the case with Janus Metz’s Armadillo (sold by TrustNordisk). Following its premiere in Critics’
Week at the weekend, the feature-doc was screened to politicians in Copenhagen yesterday (Monday) amid calls for Denmark to withdraw its soldiers from the war in Afghanistan.

The film’s producer Ronnie Fridthjof has now confirmed that the Danish army is commissioning an official inquiry into alleged misbehaviour by Danish soldiers in Afghanistan in the wake of a Taliban ambush.

The film shows a scene in which some Afghans are killed in a near combat situation. Afterwards, one of the young soldiers says the Danes “liquidated” these people in the most humane way they could. Some have taken this as an admission that the enemy were killed in an illegal way.

Here in Cannes, as the scandal surrounding the incident portrayed in Armadillo grows, market screenings have been packed.

Fridthjof said that the film has provoked some serious soul searching among the Danes as to how the country should conduct its foreign policy. “Some are saying that this is going to change the way that Danes look at themselves,” the producer said. “Prior to this film, we have had some virgin belief that we never killed anybody. We thought we were there (in Afghanistan) to give out candy for kids and build schools. Now, for the first time we see we are war in exactly the same way the rest of the world are, especially the Americans that we hear of all the time.”

 

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