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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Wife of a Spy

IFC Center / New York / Film & TV

In Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s most recent movie, a wartime wife in 1940s Japan is haunted by two possibilities: either her elusive husband, Yusaku, is an American spy or he is having an affair. Eventually it occurs to her that both could be true. The psychological thriller sees the titular wife, Satoko, torn between Yusaku, an international merchant increasingly alienated from her and the hyper-nationalistic Japan of World War II, and her childhood friend Taiji, a devoted member of the army. Kurosawa—beloved for his contributions to the J-horror boom of the early aughts—takes his time building the tension, and the double and triple crosses reveal themselves slowly and unexpectedly. The film, which won the Silver Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival, has a limited release in the United States. The nearest theater playing Wife of a Spy might be a trek, but it’s worth it. —J.D.

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