Underworld Beauty

This black-and-white yakuza thriller (1958) has a few elements of Seijun Suzuki’s signature weirdness and baroque imaginationchiefly the stolen diamonds swallowed by one character shortly before dying, whose corpse then has to be sliced open to retrieve them. Suzuki also makes interesting surrealistic use of a studio where department-store mannequins are sculpted and baked, where the corpse’s sister (the title cutie) works as a model, and where the diamonds are hidden once more. (It’s highly unlikely that he saw Stanley Kubrick’s Killer’s Kiss, which exploits a similar setting, but the parallels are striking.) In Japanese with subtitles. 87 min. (JR)

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