The Checker King

39mins2004ShortsTVG
director
Kevin Kelley
"You know how many of us there are who lost their spouses? There are nine million of us. And you know, if you're not careful, you'll have a lot of suicides, because people don't talk to us." Harold O'Brien

At the age of 68, Harold O'Brien met the love of his life and married for the first time. Except when he was drafted into World War II, Harold had never ventured far from his farm and hometown, but Norma convinced him to enter the Iowa state Checkers Championship. With her encouragement and faith, and against very long odds, Harold won the championship.

Only a few months later, though, Norma died, and Harold began a six-year struggle with severe depression. At one point, realizing that he was suicidal, he had himself hospitalized. One morning, in his eighty-first year, Harold awoke thinking about how disappointed Norma would have been with his floundering life. In her memory, he decided to enter the National Championships. This is a warm and inspiring story that is nonetheless honest about the darker realities of aging and depression.

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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.
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