Satoko Fukuhara (Yu Aoi) lives with her import/export businessman husband Yusaku (Takahashi Issey) in the port city of Kobe, with Japan on the precipice of entering WWII with Axis powers Germany and Italy in 1940. Their pleasant cosmopolitan life constricted by rising militarism, the couple is surveilled by Satoko’s admiring childhood friend who is now a steely military police officer (Masahiro Higashide). When Yusaku makes a trip to Manchuria where he witnesses colonial violence firsthand, and the mysterious woman (Hyunri) he returns with is discovered dead, Satoko questions allegiance and desire like never before, in a brave performance by Aoi. Co-written with his former students Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Tadashi Nohara (Happy Hour) and shot in 8K digital video for public broadcaster NHK, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s first historical drama eerily evokes horrors of the past in the visual register of our own terrifying times.
“Anchored by Yu Aoi’s terrific turn, Wife of a Spy pivots from being a knotty, Hitchcockian, plot-driven spy caper to telling the story of a young woman’s political awakening, and the resultant growth of her self-respect as she realizes that she has resources of cunning, intelligence and integrity that she had not been aware of previously.” —The Playlist
Available streaming territory: U.S. only