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Sunday, April 30, 2006

CHANNEL SURF

ANA's first female pilot featured in TV Tokyo's "Gaia no Yoake" and more

It's generally accepted that any job a man can do, a woman can do as well. However, certain fields still seem to be male-only clubs. How many times have you flown on a commercial airliner piloted by a woman?

This week, TV Tokyo's business documentary series, "Gaia no Yoake" (Dawn of Gaia; Tuesday, 10 p.m.) looks at the pilot profession, focusing on the first female pilot trainee for All-Nippon Airways. A graduate of an aviation college, the woman underwent her final testing aboard a Boeing 767 in Okinawa last February.

Recruiting women for the aviation industry is not just a matter of promoting job equality. As the number of passengers goes up every year, the number of pilots is decreasing. Of ANA's 1,600 pilots, an average of 90 retire every year.

This week, NHK's BS-2 channel presents a series of classic-rock concert documentaries. Though the purpose of these five films was to show the artists depicted in their performance element, as a series they also provide a mini-seminar in the art of the concert film.

On Monday, it's "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars," D.A. Pennebaker's blurry record of the final London show on David Bowie's 1973 Tour. "The Kids Are Alright" will be shown Tuesday. By far, the best of the lot, this 1978 documentary about The Who is less a concert film than a retrospective and includes great interviews (Keith Moon was still alive when the movie was made) and live footage from their career up to that point.

Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains the Same," which airs Wednesday, is the epitome of rock excess, chronicling a 1976 Madison Square Garden concert by the heavy metal progenitors. The silly fantasy sequences are good for a laugh. On Thursday, it's Hal Ashby's film of The Rolling Stones 1981 American tour, "Let's Spend the Night Together," which seems tame in comparison to other Stones docs, but at least the music is good. John Lennon's "Imagine," not a concert film, but rather a homage made up of '70s footage of the ex-Beatle, airs Saturday. All films start at 8 p.m

The NHK drama "Chichi ni Kanaderu Melody" (A Melody Played for My Father; NHK-G, Thursday, 10 p.m.) is based on a true story. A female high-school student named Kana (Chiaki Sato) is a dedicated student of the cello, and her dream is to attend a famous Tokyo music school. However, her father's small factory, where she works part time, has fallen into bankruptcy.

Kana, however, doesn't abandon her dream but simply shifts it to a different purpose. She starts playing her cello on the street for anyone to hear. Her father, who never paid much attention to her music before, suddenly realizes her talent and is inspired to try to bring his business back into the black.



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