Semaine de la critique
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Janus Metz

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Armadillo is an upfront account of growing cynicism and adrenaline addiction for young soldiers at war. Mads and Daniel are serving their first mission in Helmand, Afghanistan. Their platoon is stationed in Camp Armadillo, right on the Helmand frontline, fighting tough battles against the Talebans. The soldiers are there to help the Afghans, but as fighting gets tougher and operations increasingly hairy, Mads, Daniel and their friends becomes cynical widening the gap between themselves and the Afghan civilisation. Mistrust and paranoia set in causing alienation and disillusion.
is a journey into the soldier’s minds and a unique film on the mythological story of man and war, staged in its contemporary version in Afghanistan.

director: Janus Metz
cinematography: Lars Skree
sound: Rasmus Winther
editing: Per K. Kirkegaard
music: Uno Helmersson
Janus Metz

Danish nationality. Born in 1974 in Denmark.



Sara Stockmann, Ronnie Fridthjof
Tel. +45 36180880

Lennart Ström, Magnus Gertten

with the support of
The Danish Film Institute, TV2 Denmark, Nordic Film and TV Fund, YLE Finland, NRK Norway, Channel 4 UK, VPRO Holland, SVT Sverige

55, La Croisette
Tel. +45 60 29 84 66

press agent
Lena Juhl Seidelin
Mob. +45 27 12 75 42

Stephen Lan
Cannes: +49-172-200-6686

contact Cannes
Sara Stockmann Mob +45 31412110

Armadillo by Léo Soesento

La Semaine de la Critique has never welcomed any documentary since it has become a competition in 1990. With its cinematographic strength, its particular way of making reality and fiction match, ARMADILLO fits naturally in our selection. This is a real war film, definitely as good as Démineurs and Redacted, both in terms of theory and suspense. Love on Delivery, Metz’s previous short documentary on mixed marriages between Thai and Danish people, already dealing with an edgy situation (to marry a stranger on the other side of the world, the frontier between love and interest), a “rite of passage”. The rite here is more “violent” but still enables the director to create a mirror for all of us” as he puts it. In Love on Delivery the main protagonists were women. In ARMADILLO I wanted to get close to notions of masculinity as they unfold in war.

The exhausting shooting of ARMADILLO, right in the battlefield, enabled him to rediscover that war is darkness, very scary and highly seductive at the same time, for me, for the soldiers I accompanied and, I guess, for the audience as well. Seductive in the sense that when confronted with death you feel Life very strongly. His best memory of this film? Coming out alive. His worst: Writing a farewell letter to my family which they were to open in case I didn’t make it back. As for the members of the audience who will inevitably wonder if Armadillo is a fiction or a documentary, Janus Metz answers: The emotional impact is at the core of all film making, whether it is documentary or fiction; the poetic representation of reality, I believe, can get almost hyper-real, if it is done well. As a conclusion (to legitimate our choice): A film is… a film.


Entretien avec Janus Metz, réalisateur de Armadillo

What gave you the need or made you want to shoot documentaries?
I have always been occupied with images, people and social issues. In documentary film making I feel that these fields of interest have a natural crossing point. It gives me the opportunity to explore and portray complexities and nuances of reality in ways that transmits very powerful representations. ”the real” is for me an ultimate challenge of film making, and documentary deals very directly with reality.

Where did you get the idea of Armadillo? Your previous documentary "Love on Delivery already dealt with rites of passage (marriage). How did you make the transition from filming couples to go on the war zone?
Rites of passage confront people with themselves in extreme ways. When you film people – as I have done in ARMADILLO and in LOVE ON DELIVERY – who go through life altering situations, such as marrying a stranger on the other side of the world or living through the experience of war, you will get very close to these people and close to an unfolding of something profoundly human. I beleive this creates a mirror for all of us, and gives us the opportunity to look into ourselves. Both films are also films about globalisation or global issues. I am trying to stage a bigger picture of the world by exploring very intimate encounters. In ”love on delivery” the main protagonists were women. In ARMADILLO I wanted to get close to notions of masculinity as they unfold in war.

How was the shooting? What is your best/worst memory from the shooting?

The shooting was extremely challenging – emotionally and practically. The photographer and I had to put ourselves in the same life threatening situations as the soldiers in order to get close to the reality of war, This was frightening and strangely seductive at the same time. I guess this is one of the points of the film as well. War is darkness – very scary and highly seductive. Seductive in the sense that when confronted with death you feel life very strongly. There is a border between the civilized and the archaic – culture and nature – which is challenged and which can be explored here.
My worst memory is writing a ”farewell letter” to my family which they were to open in case I didn’t make it back.
My best memory is coming out alive.

How did you feel when you found out you were selected at la Semaine de la Critique ?
I was greatly honoured and felt very humble at the same time. ARMADILLO is a very serious film, about real people and their losses, and about the tragedies in Afghanistan, but I feel that the selection for ”semaine de la critique” is a great recognition of the film’s cinematic qualities and truthfull intentions.

When watching Armadillo, the audience will surely ask first : "is it documentary of fiction"? Why did you almost shoot/edit Armadillo as a fiction? Are you now ready to direct a fiction feature film?

To me film is film. The narrative and the character-driven are some of the strongest tools for getting a story across to an audience. It is a question of identification and emotional impact. Something, which is at the core of all film making, whether it is documantary or fiction. Working creatively and responsibly with filmic expressions is not limited to fiction. The poetic representation of reality, i beleive, can get almost hyperreal, if it is done well. My heart has always been strongly connected to documentary film making, but I am interested in directing feature in the future as there are limits to what you can do in documentary.

Le film sera distribué en France le 15 décembre 2010 par DistriB Film

2010 Semaine de la Critique

Toronto International Film Festival – 2010

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