MEN BEHIND THE SUN (1988)
Hei tai yang 731
Japanese troops round up Chinese and Russian prisoners of war and take them to a place called Squadron 731, where they are grotesquely tortured and experimented on to test new biological weapons.
Actually, it was not only for biological weapons, because a lot of the torture one gets to see here, is unrelated to biological warfare.The film itself is in part documentary style, but most of it shows the events like any normal movie would. We get dates and places from time to time, together with historical facts. It shows , how kid soldiers are brutalized and made to comply with the inhuman tasks, which they are ordered to do. There are a few central characters, which we follow through this nightmare. Maybe the one that stands out, is a mute Chinese boy, who finds a gruesome death, but still maybe the most humane, if there is such a thing in this movie. Its been said, that they actually used corpses for certain scenes. But I don`t know, and cannot prove those claims. Guess it is pretty well documented on certain sites.The acting is pretty solid from everybody, and only adds to the terror.It is, after all, a serious subject, a subject that the japanese would rather not discuss .
As terrible, as the stuff shown in this movie is, it is still worth seeing. Because nobody in the western hemisphere would dare to make a movie similar to this one, with-let`s say- the Nazis and Jews, as a comparable subject.
This was the film that stopped my need ( in the early nineties) to try and find ever more gory or extreme films….this was the end of the line. I didn`t step into the territory of Torture-Porn or anything along those lines after this, I´ve had my share of undescribable Torture and violence towards humans.There was a bit violence against animals, too, and I still shake my head at cruelty towards animals like i`ve seen in Cannibal Holocaust.Even if we slaughter millions of cows, pigs and chicken, which is a discussion in itself.
I never understood the people , who can take away pleasure from SAW or Hostel.
I watched them, sure…but very fast disliked the idea of cheering at the grotesque ways in which people die in these movies. Same goes for Final Destination, a series that went downhill fast. The first part was a fun movie , but after that it gets kinda repetitive and the cheering and dribble for every death scene in the sequels is disgusting. Even, if they try to make it sort of funny. Its not for me. Which doesn´t mean I don`t enjoy some gore here and there…I love Ichi, the Killer or Braindead( Dead Alive), and The Story of Ricky…but they all are something different to me, entirely. And something like Audition by Takashi Miike-that´s art, in my opinion…plus, there is a decent story to it, as well. Nowhere near the stupid spectacle that are SAW or Hostel.
MEN BEHIND THE SUN had, at least, a subject worth looking at and thinking about.
Don`t think about eating or watching this with your wife or girlfriend. It`s probably not a good idea.