The subs are a bit off here and there – was already burnt into the video, so nothing could be doneAKA: Hei Tai Yang 731, Black Sun 731, Squadron 731
Directed by: Tun Fei Mou
Starring: Gang Wang (Lt. Gen. Ishii)
Country: Hong Kong, Asian Cinema
Language: Mandarin (English subtitles)
Genres: Military, Based on a True Story, Violence Against-Relationships with Animals, Captivity, Gruesome, Fascism, Torture, Racism
Plot – Spoilers:
Men Behind the Sun is based on Unit 731, a facility run by the Japanese during WW2, where experiments were conducted on mostly Chinese and some Soviet prisoners. The prisoners were referred to as ‘logs’ and the experiments were part of a grand plan to design biological weapons.
Lt. Gen. Ishii arrives at Unit 731 with a reputation that forces even the Generals there to be servile, with his every whim unquestioned. Coinciding with his arrival, a squadron of teenage boys are brought in, who act as a sort of mirror to the atrocities that the perpetrators rarely stare into. With defeat for Imperial Japan looming, Ishii believes his Unit is a secret ace that can turn the war around and the experiments get more brutal.
Apart from the quite vivid human torment, Men Behind the Sun also includes a few controversial scenes of violence vs animals such as a cat being devoured by rats (later claimed by the Director to be fake), and an (oddly) aesthetic scene of rats on fire scurrying hither thither.
Predictably, the movie was received with outrage and was promptly banned in a number of countries though most of this probably had to do with its historical context.