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MSU’s Cinema International screening modern Japanese spy thriller set during World War II

Murray State University’s Cinema International program is screening Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Wife of a Spy, a 2020 film set during World War II-era in Japanese-occupied Manchuria.

With themes of intrigue, love, and nuance, the film follows the wife of a local merchant who secretly films atrocities committed by the Japanese military in an attempt to bring them to light. As events unfold, she becomes convinced he’s abut spy for the United States.

Cinema International is screening Wife of a Spy – which won the Silver Lion for best director at the Venice Film Festival in 2020 – on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m. on Murray State University’s main campus in Faculty Hall, room 208.

Cinema International director Therese St. Paul described the film as reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s style – a well-crafted thriller that keeps you on your toes.

“And you have to really look at a lot of details, just like Hitchcock has … little details that foreshadow what's going to happen, gives you a clue that you only realize later on,” she said. “The idea of a film within a film is very important, and the pieces come together as you watch.”

Yoko Hatakeyama, a senior instructor of Japanese at Murray State University, said context is important to understanding the intrigue and nuances of the film.

“I think it'll be interesting for American people to see it because this movie takes place in summer in 1941, three months before Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor,” she said. “The United States ordered a trade embargo on oil and scrap steel to Japan, then that was really sort of [what] triggered Japan to go to war because, at that time, Japan had only six months of reserves.”

Hurt is a Livingston County native and has been a political consultant for a little over a decade. He currently hosts a local talk show “Daniel Hurt Presents”, produced by Paducah2, which features live musical performances, academic discussion, and community spotlights.
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