With the rise of Japanese nationalism in the early 40s, a young Japanese merchant and his wife find their Westernised lifestyle in direct conflict with the emerging values, but they seem nonchalant till he visits Manchuria on a business trip and gathers disturbing evidence of clandestine biological experimentations carried out by a secret unit of the Japanese Army on the local Chinese population, leading to a plague outbreak. The discovery complicates his relationship with his wife who begins to suspect him of being an American spy and having had an affair with a woman who turns up dead.
To complicate matters, the ultra-nationalist leader of the local military unit who happens to be a childhood friend of the wife and still retains a softness for her begins to probe into their lives to unearth what he suspects, not without reasons – a conspiracy against Japan that carries the death penalty.
WIFE OF A SPY (2020, Japan), a period spy thriller and romantic drama, despite being sumptuously mounted, is a clean-cut account of a most regressive and repressive period of 20th century Japanese history. Directed by maverick Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa,
it’s playing on MUBI.
Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.