Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Men Behind the Sun

What we have here is a bad movie that provides a public service of a kind. Men Behind the Sun tells the story of a covert Japanese operation that took place in occupied China during WWII. It was believed that germ warfare was the wave of the future, so experiments were carried out on prisoners. Those responsible for perpetrating these far flung atrocities were not brought to justice, and this sordid episode is not well known. That's where this film comes in.

It's a good thing that someone decided to tell this story. The director did a lot with very little money or support from the Chinese government, as they feared strained relations with Japan as a possible outcome of this movie being made. I believe it is important to document wrongdoing, if for no other reason than to potentially keep atrocities like the ones shown in this film from occurring again.

However, this is not a well-made film. It is overlong. The acting is awful. There is no symbol too obvious or characterization too broad. The score helps to make a lot of the dramatic proceedings feel like nothing so much as a crappy TV movie from the early 1980's. But of course, when all you hear about a movie like this is how fucking sickening it is, I suppose you're not really watching it for the dramatic nuances.

That being said, why yes, it's true. This movie is foul. Among the things that happen in this film are:a baby is wrenched from its mother's arms and smothered in the snow. A young boy is knocked out with chloroform and then dissected and his organs harvested while still alive. A woman has ice-cold water poured over her arms while standing outside in the snow for 10 hours, then dunks her arms in hot water so that the skin and muscle can be pulled off of them like elbow-length gloves. A man is placed in a chamber where sound is pumped in at increasing frequencies and volumes until his intestine bursts out of his asshole. A cat is thrown into a room with thousands of starving rats and is eaten alive. A geisha has her armpit hair plucked out without warning, even.

Apparently the director used actual human cadavers for many scenes, which is pretty gross. More disturbing, according to pretty much everyone on the Internet, is that the cat in the rat scene was real, too. The director says he didn't kill it, but apparently he can't be trusted on that matter because there is another scene where rats are set on fire. So if you are disturbed by rats being burned up or cats maybe being hurt, then skip this one. Actually, if you're disturbed by disgusting shit with questionable educational value, then feel free to skip this too. Maybe read an article on Wikipedia about Unit 731 or something and save yourself the 100 minutes while you're at it.

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