Man Behind the Sun is a film that does not fuck around. I made this my Facebook status earlier today because A. It was true and B. I'm sick of films that fuck around. I'm sick of The Human Centipede getting touted as the most disturbing film of all time and I'm sick of people going on and on about how gross the gore is in any of the Saw films. It's like those people are the pesky oceanographers and police chiefs and I'm Quint--(drunk because this shit is serious) spouting off stories about how you don't know shit. I KNOW because I was there. I watched really disturbing movies that would make you Saw fans cry at a moments notice. And I watched people get eaten by a shark right in front of me and the shark was staring at me with its black lifeless doll eyes and blah blah I'm so drunk, let's sing songs.
If you don't know about Unit 731 I suggest you take a walk on over to Wikipedia and do some catching up. Man Behind the Sun is all about the going ons at Unit 731 and it's a very hard film to sit through. I say this as someone who until today had never seen a man's poop and intestines come out of his butt hole. It's insanely graphic, unapologetic, and the thought that remains in the back of your head throughout its entirety--is that this actually happened. Horrible, unbelievable experiments were performed on human beings in Unit 731. Experiments like injecting people with malaria and then performing an autopsy on them while they were still alive.
Tying people to a post and dropping bombs with fleas infected with the bubonic plague on top of them.
Just really, really fucked up shit that seems so unbelievable yet so undeniably true.
The film is badly dubbed with voices that are clearly white but it doesn't really matter in the slightest. If you find that you are too put off by the unmatched voices than I would say you have bigger problems to worry about. We mostly focus on the youth corps that have been sent to Unit 731 to learn all about the experiments and lend a hand. Their participation reminded me in some ways of the youth in Salo--except here the boys are depicted with much more of a conscious. The expressions on their faces when being exposed to the experiments are the epitome of horror and shock.
It really hammers home the idea that these are young kids being forced into something. They are trained to believe that it is not right to kill non-Maruta but Maruta are fine for the taking.
Maruta by the way can be translated as "logs". Make of that what you will.
Honestly, my initial reaction to what was happening in front of my eyes was a combination of murder and suicide. Even when things looked fake--they didn't feel fake and that is the key point to take away from this. I even exclaimed out loud at what was going on. And I should mention this doesn't just apply to the graphic violence--it's more of a shock at how poorly humans were treated in general kind of thing.
In one early scene a woman destined to be a Maruta clutches onto her baby as she files into Unit 731. The general/ guy in charge grabs her baby and chucks it onto the snow. The sobbing woman gets pulled down into the chamber, while the general buries the baby in the snow--its crying instantly muffled.
It's scenes like this that populate the cruel and terrible nature of Man Behind the Sun. I always find that baby killing scenes are hard to withstand, and even though there is clearly no baby inside that bundle it's just the idea that really begins to distress you.
Later, in what was probably in my opinion the worst display of torture experiments, that same woman is tied up outside in the freezing cold. Ice cold water is poured over her out stretched hands.
The guy in charge here cuts off the icicles that form and then begins pouring more water on. Then she is taken inside after being outside for 10 hours and her hands are plunged into water.
After pulling them out the main guy in charge pulls her entire skin and muscle off of her arms like a glove.
A frickin glove.
It's really fucking outrageous for some reason. And it's not even like that's a particularly gruesome thing it's just too real all of a sudden.
Things don't get much better after this, gruesome up close and personal autopsies, live cats being thrown into the biggest pit of rats I have ever seen, people being gassed--the list really goes on. It's a film that is disturbing in a very simple way because it continuously makes us remember that shit like this does happen. Reading up on the details of the actual events sounds like they were even worse than what is depicted in the film and that my friends---is terrifying.
This will most certainly be making an appearance on my ultimate disturbing film list. I can't stop thinking about it. I keep seeing that man's poop and intestines and that woman's glove skin and deformed frost bitten hands and I feel sick! Again, I have to ask--why do we watch films like this? Man Behind the Sun is raising awareness about a past historical event that some people know nothing about and for that, it does have a point. But it's a lot and it's a lot to withstand for an hour and 30 minutes. I think I need to go watch The Carebears Movie.