At the end of July, we reported that Venice Film Festival would be one of the first major film festivals to go ahead with an in-person event following the outbreak of COVID-19. Safety precautions were put in place to ensure this could be done safely, including running a slimmed-down event schedule with some online screenings of out-of-competition films, and while I noted my doubts, this proved to be a successful event that it seems likely other festivals will follow going forward. At that time, we noted that Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Wife of a Spy would be taking part in the awards competition, and the film came away with the prestigious Silver Lion for Best Director at Venice Film Festival 2020.
Perhaps unsurprising given the repeated praise and high profile the film had going into the event, the winner of the top prize for best film at the festival, the Golden Lion, was given to Nomadland. Directed by Chloé Zhao and set during the Great Recession starring Frances McDormand, the highly-anticipated film took the Golden Lion to put it in prime position heading into the delayed upcoming awards season. The Silver Lion for best director, however, went to Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s highly anticipated film Wife of a Spy, the director’s first period piece by the director that follows a Japanese merchant as they attempt to get the word out about acts they witnessed in Manchuria.
This makes Kurosawa only the second ever Japanese director to win the best director prize at the event since its inclusion as a prize at the event for directorial awards in 1998 after Takeshi Kitano, who won the award for Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman in 2006.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Silver Lion-winning film Wife of a Spy will receive a Japanese cinematic release on October 16th, and you can find out more over on the film’s official website.