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Friday, June 2, 2006
Human dramas revisited
By TAI KAWABATA
Sky Perfect TV's Japanese movie channel and select cable television stations will celebrate the career of director Shoichiro Sasaki starting on June 16. Sasaki, a former NHK TV drama director, is highly rated not only by TV viewers but also by directors such as Hirokazu Koreeda, Shinya Tsukamoto and Naomi Kawase.
Sasaki's made-for-TV films often shun clear-cut story lines, instead relying on visual images, sounds and music to create a long-lasting impression on the viewer. Without such a reliance on the spoken word, viewers of any cultural background have been able to appreciate Sasaki's works. He also often chooses amateurs for his lead roles and uses ordinary people whom he happens to encounter during filming on location, giving his dramas a very real touch.
Given their quality, it is not surprising that Sasaki's works have received many international prizes. In 1980, his "Utopiano -- Dream in a Different Key" received the Prix RAI from the Italian public service broadcaster in the television-fiction category, going some way to ending the dominance of Ken Loach's social-realist school in that competition.
Sasaki's works will be aired from 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, June 5-29. They include "Mother" (1971, screened June 5); "Utopiano -- Dream in a Different Key" (1980, June 12); "Tokyo on the City" (1986, June 19); "Jan Letzel Apocalypse -- The Man Who Built the Hiroshima Dome" (1991, June 27) and "August Scream" (1995, June 29) among others. For times, visit www.nihon-eiga.com