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Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005

CHANNEL SURF

TV Tokyo's "Giants of Beauty" looks back on photographer Ihei Kimura's works, and more

On Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m., NHK will broadcast in two parts an award-winning French miniseries about "The Dominici Affair" on its BS-2 channel. The 2003 dramatization revisited one of France's most notorious criminal cases, introducing new evidence.

In 1952, an elderly company owner named Gaston Dominici was accused of murdering an English family who had stopped near his small village to have a picnic. With no other suspects and the local media screaming for results, the police invented a case against Dominici and he was subsequently convicted and sentenced. President Charles de Gaulle, however, pardoned Dominici in 1960.

Dominici said he was innocent, but his sons provided testimony that helped the police with their case against him. The sons, it was later found, held a grudge against their father, and on closer inspection there was no solid evidence provided in the trial that showed Dominici was the murderer. The dramatization, which stars veteran actor Michel Serrault as Dominici, recounts the murder, the investigation, and the trial in detail.


Traditionally, school teachers were revered and respected in Japan, but lately their luster has dimmed. Classrooms have become chaotic, students are increasingly disrepectful toward their elders, and teachers spend more time keeping order than teaching.

On "The Confessions of 1,000 Current Teachers" (Fuji TV , Wed., 7 p.m.), a questionnaire survey of one thousand school instructors is dissected and analyzed. The results are quite shocking. Not only are teachers no longer venerated, they are barely treated as human beings.

Fifty of these teachers come to the studio and discuss their work with a panel of celebrities who also happen to be parents with school-age children. One-third of the teachers claim that they are actually afraid to go to work every day. Their classrooms are constantly being disrupted by violence and bullying. Romance and discrimination are also problems. Some of the more shocking incidents are recreated dramatically.


Photographer Ihei Kimura was once labeled the God of the Leica. Born in 1901, Kimura made a career taking pictures of everyday people in everyday situations. His skill was in conveying the entire lives of his subjects through the capture of a single moment, without exaggeration or trickery.

He also had an uncanny ability to transport the viewer directly back into the time period when he took the photograph. For that reason he is considered the most important prewar photographer in Japan, though he continued taking pictures right up to his death in 1974. TV Tokyo's documentary series "Giants of Beauty" (Sat., 10 p.m.) will look at his work and his life.



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