Philosophy of a Knife Limited Edition

The true history of Japanese Unit 731, from its beginnings in the 1930’s to its demise in 1945, and the subsequent trials in Khabarovsk, USSR, of many of the Japanese doctors from Unit 731. The facts are told, and previously unknown evidence is revealed by an eyewitness to these events, former doctor and military translator, Anatoly Protasov. Part documentary and part feature, the story is shown from the perspective of a young Japanese nurse who witnessed many of horrors, and a young Japanese officer who is torn between his sincere convictions that he is serving the greater purpose, and the deep sympathy he feels for an imprisoned Russian girl. His life is a living hell as he’s compelled to carry out atrocious experiments on the other prisoners, using them as guinea pigs in this shocking tale of mankind’s barbarity. Philosophy of a Knife is truly one of the most violent, brutal and harrowing movies ever made. Special Edition includes: Making of Documentary, A Glimpse of Hell (Uncut version of the morgue sequence), Director Introduction, Interview with Actress Manoush, Original Soundtrack, Deleted Scenes, Dead Before Born Music Video, Forgive Me Music Video, Still Gallery, Booklet with Intro by Scott Gabbey.

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3 Replies to “Philosophy of a Knife Limited Edition”

  1. One of the most ambitious, graphic, deeply disturbing and heartbreaking films ever conceived. First, I’m sick of some reviewers going on and on about the GORE in this movie. This is NOT a HORROR movie. This is not a gore-drenched rip-off of “Saw” or “Hostel.” In fact, most conventional horror movie loving folk will probably not sit all the way through this film, for the simple reason that there is not wall-to-wall gore or funny dialogue or gratuitous T&A.For the most part this is a very detailed and very long history lesson, that like “Men Behind the Sun” is not afraid to show a shameful and horrendous part of the past in horrific detail. While “Men Behind the Sun” (a film that I also have a lot of respect for) is colorful, “Philosophy of a Knife” is presented in mostly black and white with a genuine 16mm educational documentary feel. While this effect has been overused and ineffective in the past, it works very well here.Make no mistake “Philosophy of a Knife” is very graphic, and the grotesque and horrifying medical experiments are presented in nightmare-inducing detail. But it doesn’t come off like gore for gore sake. It seems and ‘feels’ very real; as if we’re actually there witnessing these unspeakable horrors in the name of medical science.The actual run time with the introduction is nearly four and a half hours. It actually seems longer considering the exhausting amount of interview and recreated footage to be found here. However I was never bored. And, when it was finally over, I could do nothing but sit and stare at the screen. I was experiencing feelings that I rarely feel after watching a movie. Putting it simply, I was numb from the complexity, power and the shocking historical nature of the movie that had just consumed an entire summer evening.

  2. Not Iskanov’s best by a longshot, but still valuable. Philosophy of a Knife (Andrey Iskanov, 2008)For twenty years, a debate has raged over the title of most extreme gore film. While you’ll have your classicists arguing for Cannibal Ferox and the like, the real discussion boils down to two films: Hideshi Hino’s sixty-minute masterpiece Flower of Flesh and Blood and T. F. Mous’ infamous started-as-a-documentary-and-turned-into-a-gore-film Men Behind the Sun. Now, MbtS is twenty years old, FoFaB twenty-three; you’d think by now someone would have pushed the envelope a bit. But those two movies are like the Whitehouse and Sutcliffe Jugend of filmdom; sometimes people get close, but no one ever seems to spill over into unknown territory. There are some envelopes that are, seemingly, made of titanium. The latest chap to try is Andrey Iskanov, whose Nails made me think we might be seeing the first truly boundary-battering Russian director since Tarkovsky; with Philosophy of a Knife, he decided to take what Mous was originally going to do and integrate it with what Mous finally did, creating what the horror underground have been calling a “goreumentary” ever since buzz started flying about this movie a year or so ago. And with a projected running time of over four hours (the released version does, in fact, clock in at four hours and nine minutes, excluding the intermission), a bunch of us believed it was time for Mous and Hino to step aside and acknowledge the new master. Well, now I’ve seen it. Mous and Hino are resting safely on their laurels.It’s tough to talk about directorial style when you’re reviewing a documentary, so I’m not even going to try, except to mention that in the gore-film bits, all the wonderful stylistic quirks that made Nails (and, to a lesser extent, Visions of Suffering) such a treat are absent; I assume that’s to keep the film’s documentary look-and-feel. I missed them greatly, especially as it seemed to me that some more personal touches from Iskanov might have invested us a great deal more in what was going on; Mous achieves the shock and nausea he does in Men Behind the Sun specifically because he’s got himself a storyline and some pretty solid characters, while Iskanov is more interested in depicting the horrors of Unit 731 in a more impressionist style. (There is one undercurrent of a storyline, actually; it involves what seems to be the growing feelings of a male nurse for one of the maruta. And it should come as no surprise that the resolution of that storyline, despite being one of the quietest scenes in the film, is also the strongest.) As a result, while there can be no doubt whatsoever that when you use a metric of gallons of fake blood and innards per hour, Iskanov probably has, in fact, created one of the most violent films I’ve ever seen, but the gore sequences never get under that barrier of detachment. There’s no real effect to them, other than saying “hmm, interesting use of special effects.” Also, a number of scenes seem designed more for shock value than anything else (though the documentary half of the film assures us that yes, these things really did happen), which took away from the movie somewhat. It should be noted, again, that the scenes obviously designed for shock value in Men Behind the Sun did not have this effect; i.e., they actually did shock, despite being far less explicit in most cases. I should also point out the soundtrack, which worked very well for a film like Nails, but constantly feels out of place here.Still, I don’t want to give the impression that this is a bad film. It’s certainly the most comprehensive treatment of Unit 731 we’ve seen on screen, thanks in no small part to its epic run time, and that alone makes it a valuable document. And while I know Iskanov and crew spent four years on the project, it does seem as if one more rewrite of the script, to further integrate the gore-film aspects and give us some characters with whom we could empathize, would have done a great service to the finished product. ***

  3. Creepy and disturbing at first… I bought this DVD knowing full well that it would not be easy to watch, but little did I know the real reason why. The film is several hours long, four hours to be exact. On the good side of things, the angles and lenses used are artistic and unsettling. I know that sounds like a pretty bland explanation, but the camera work is quite good. That is about the only good thing about the movie really. While watching it, I got that feeling that a lot of other movies had borrowed some of its better elements since its release in 08…or maybe it’s the other way around. Who knows? Who cares? Gore porn gets boring to this desensitized soul after an hour or two so the film lost much of its appeal. Even the stark reality of the Unit 731 experiments on which the film is based cannot save it after the third hour of seeing a man “microwaved” on a micro film budget. The actors and effects are not good enough to convey such an atrocity but I commend the effort. My advice to those out there looking for something REALLY messed up, go watch “Flower of Flesh and Blood.” It is equally (maybe more) graphic and gory for gore’s sake but without all the filler.

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