Wife of a Spy

Audience Award ~ Best Film
San Sebastián International Film Festival
Silver Lion
Venice Film Festival
Golden Lion
Venice Film Festival
A period drama with distinct Hitchcockian overtones... in the vintage of 'Suspicion' and 'Notorious.'


Wife of a Spy

Master filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pulse, Cure, Tokyo Sonata) won the Silver Lion (Best Director) at the Venice Film Festival for this riveting, gorgeously crafted, old-school Hitchockian thriller shot in stunning 8K. The year is 1940 in Kobe, on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. Local merchant and amateur filmmaker Yusaku (Issey Takahashi, Kill Bill) senses that things are headed in an unsettling direction. Following a trip to Manchuria, he becomes determined to bring to light the things he witnessed there, and secretly filmed. Meanwhile, his wife Satoko (Japan Society’s 2021 Honoree Yû Aoi) receives a visit from her childhood friend, now a military policeman. He warns her about Yusaku’s seditious ways and reveals that a woman her husband brought back from his trip has died. Satoko confronts Yusaku, but when she discovers his true intentions, she is torn between loyalty to her husband, the life they have built, and the country they call home.

“An absorbing, exotic, well-paced thriller.” – Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“One of Kurosawa's most purely enjoyable entertainments… powered by Yu Aoi’s bravura performance." – Guy Lodge, Variety

“Kiyoshi Kurosawa's best movie in years… Another unexpected pivot from a filmmaker who’s never liked putting one foot in front of the other.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire

“A work of someone in masterful control of atmosphere... Kurosawa brings viewers into the ghastly secret that binds husband and wife together, one that could end their lives if discovered.” – John Lui, The Straits Times

Not Rated
Drama, History, War
English, Japanese
Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Tadashi Nohara
Yû Aoi, Issey Takahashi, Masahiro Higashide
Nominee, Audience Award ~ Best Film, San Sebastián International Film Festival
Winner, Silver Lion, Venice Film Festival
Nominee, Golden Lion, Venice Film Festival
Glenn Kenny, New York Times

There are a lot of commonplace story elements in “Wife of a Spy.” Childhood friends divided by the beating of war drums. A glib, secretive husband and a distrustful wife. And so on. Combined with its period setting — the movie begins in 1940, at a silk inspection center in Kobe where a British ...

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