When the new Danish documentary Armadillo screened in its native country and elsewhere in Europe, it is claimed that it set off a political firestorm.
In this cinema verite portrait of a platoon of Danish soldiers fighting under NATO auspices in Afghanistan, the final dizzying, gut-wrenching firefight filmed by director Janus Metz and cameraman Lars Skree (and by a camera strapped to one soldier’s helmet) appears to show the soldiers executing wounded Taliban.
Armadillo, winner of the Critics’ Week Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, has its national broadcast premiere on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011 at 10 p.m. on PBS as part of the 24th season of POV (Point of View).
The film will stream on the POV website, www.pbs.org/pov/armadillo, from Aug. 31 to Nov. 29. The regular season of POV continues on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. through Sept. 27 and concludes with specials in November 2011 and winter/spring 2012.
Filmed over six months in 2009, Armadillo takes its name from the forward operating base in Afghanistan’s embattled Helmand province, only half a mile from Taliban positions, where the Danish soldiers were sent in February of that year.
Danish and British soldiers are part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which was formed by NATO in response to the U.S. call for support in Afghanistan.
But the political mechanism that is sending them to a far-off land to fight appears to matter less to the young soldiers than what they are told is the gist of their mission: to protect the Afghan people and help them rebuild their country.
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and now in its 24th season on PBS, the POV series is a showcase on American television to feature the work of independent documentary filmmakers.
Photo courtesy: American Documentary