Wife of a Spy

Spy no Tsuma


Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s gorgeous, riveting Venice Best Director winner is an espionage drama in the league of Hitchcock’s Notorious, a romance as glorious as David Lean’s wartime epics, and a metafilmic charade that hails cinema as salvation for modern civilization. During World War II, industrialist and amateur filmmaker Yusaku (Issey Takahashi) discovers a shocking state secret in the labs of Manchuria, a Japanese colony. To turn the tide of war, his wife Satoko (Yu Aoi) must seduce, scheme, and even betray in order to outwit a ruthless secret police lieutenant (Masahiro Higashide) who adores her.

The master of bloodcurdling chillers Cure and Creepy has crafted his scariest work yet, which deals with the existential horror of humans living under fascist tyranny in a morally complicit society. Costumes and architecture radiate period charm, yet the film bristles with contemporary political relevance. The new darling of Cannes and Berlin, co-writer Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy; Drive My Car) turns his recurrent fascination with love triangles into tingling sexual and psychological tension.

Silver Lion (Best Director), Venice 2020

Director Icon Director
Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Yu Aoi, Issey Takahashi, Ryota Bando, Yuri Tsunematsu, Minosuke Hyunri, Masahiro Higashide, Takashi Sasano
Producer Keisuke Tsuchihashi, Takashi Sawada, Satoshi Takada, Tamon Kondo
Screenwriter Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Tadashi Nohara, Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Cinematographer Tatsunosuke Sasaki
Editor Hidemi Lee
Production Design Norifumi Ataka
Music Ryosuke Nagaoka
Production Company NHK, NHK Enterprises, Incline, C&I Entertainment
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Japan 2020 115 min. In Japanese Trailer | Review | Review | Review | Review | Review | Review
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Kurosawa-Kiyoshi headshot


Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a film director, screenwriter, film critic, and professor at the Tokyo University of the Arts, is best known for his contributions to the Japanese horror genre. He began making 8mm films in university, making his feature film directorial debut in 1983 with Kandagawa Wars. Several of his films—Pulse (2001), Journey to the Shore (2015) and Before We Vanish (2017)—have screened in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes. Creepy (2016) premiered at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival, and To the End of the Earth (2019) was a closing film at the Locarno Film Festival.

Selected Filmography
Pulse (2001); Journey to the Shore (2015); Creepy (2016); Before We Vanish (2017)