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German documentaries explore WWI history; Yukie Nakama stars in Mitsuko Mori biopic; CM of the week: Merry Maids

by Philip Brasor

Special To The Japan Times

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, a conflagration whose causes most people probably don’t understand. This week, NHK will present a series of German documentaries, “Doomsday World War I,” on its BS1 channel that attempt to explain the so-called war to end all wars, with colorized film shot at the time as well as dramatizations. All programs start at midnight.

“Fall of Man” (Mon.) attempts to show how the war widened from the regional Sarajevo Incident to encompass all of Europe, and discusses the advent of modern weaponry that made mass killing the hallmark of the war.

“Purgatory” (Tues.) takes on the matter of unlimited war, wherein 700,000 people were killed on a 700-km-long front in northern France that never budged: The horror of trench warfare.

“The Battle of Nations” investigates the consequences of “total war,” how Russia withdrew with the onset of revolution and Germany called for a cease-fire and paid for it, thus setting the stage for World War II.

Actress Mitsuko Mori died in November 2012 at age 92. She was working almost right up to the day she passed away. Her colorful but in many ways lonely life is recreated in “Mori Mitsuko wo Ikita Onna” (“The Woman Who Lived as Mitsuko Mori”; Fuji, Fri., 9 p.m.).

Mori debuted in 1935 but did not attract attention until after the war, when she was discovered as a jazz singer. Her acting career flourished, and she married an American man. In those days, a woman in show business quit when she married, so she quickly dissolved the union. Later she almost died of tuberculosis and found her calling in the stage play “Horoki,” in which she played a mother, though she was never a mother herself. She revived the play many times over the years, eventually performing it a record 2017 times. Starring Yukie Nakama.

CM of the Week: Duskin

Arisa Mizuki appears in a new series of commercials for Merry Maids, Duskin’s house cleaning service. Mizuki is obviously a homemaker of leisure, since she doesn’t appear to have a job. In one spot she’s even waiting outside her house for the cleaning person to show up.

In another she’s in a boxing gym practicing her left jabs while female Duskin employees wipe her floors and clean her bathtub. Challenged by a trainer, she shows him what she’s made of. Housewives who fight have no time for dusting.