Round and Round

Liz Manashil
Can you ever remember a time that you've been on or around a carousel that hasn't been a happy time in your life? This question is raised by W.P. Wilcox, a retired wood carver and subject of "Round and Round." W.P. describes the carousel world as "almost as addictive as gold fever," and, as a part-time gold prospector, has the authority to make the comparison.

Mr. Wilcox is just one of the handful of colorful characters profiled in this film. Some of his carvings rest in the warehouse of Lourinda Bray, a zookeeper of over 300 wooden creatures. Lourinda hosts an annual party for carousel enthusiasts at her home where she lives with dozens of live animals, including cats, birds, and raccoons. Rol and Jo Summit are annual guests at this party. The Summits are a sophisticated couple from an affluent Los Angeles suburb, who, after coffee or Sunday brunch, spend their days drilling, blowtorching, and painting animals in need of repair. Jo speculates that her obsession with restoring these animals was born from a traumatic childhood experience.

In 1943, her beloved merry-go-round that she frequented with her mother was destroyed by a fire. She explains: "I was devastated and my mom... drove me down to see the shambles... and the horses were silent and black. And all I wanted to do was take one home and fix it up. And I think somewhere that desire stayed latent, hidden, until now." Jo's nostalgia is shared by the many other merry-go- rounders in this film. This nostalgia is symbolized, too, by the few machines remaining in operation today.

ROUND AND ROUND is a visual tribute to these rides-- which all have distinct personalities. Some have survived the weathering of history-- like the cracked and peeling machine on a distant hilltop in Griffith Park. Others are newly manufactured from shiny, indestructible fiberglass. Despite their differences, carousels have one important thing in common: that to a child, they are all instruments of wonder.

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Nanking - Narrated
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A powerful, emotional and relevant reminder of the heartbreaking toll war takes on the innocent, this award-winning documentary tells the story of the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China, in the early days of World War II. As part of a campaign to conquer all of China, the Japanese subjected Nanking?which was then China's capital?to months of aerial bombardment, and when the city fell, the Japanese army unleashed murder and rape on a horrifying scale. In the midst of the rampage, a small group of Westerners banded together to establish a Safety Zone where over 200,000 Chinese found refuge. Unarmed, these missionaries, university professors, doctors and businessmen?including a Nazi named John Rabe?bore witness to the events, while risking their own lives to protect civilians from slaughter. The story is told through deeply moving interviews with Chinese survivors, chilling archival footage and photos, testimonies of former Japanese soldiers?and a staged reading of the Westerners' letters and diaries by Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway, Jurgen Prochnow and others. NANKING is a testament to the courage and conviction of individuals who were determined to act in the face of evil and a powerful tribute to the resilience of the Chinese people?a gripping account of light in the darkest of times. This version of the film features descriptive narration for the blind and visually impaired, created by the Narrative Television Network.
Nanking - Narrated