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LA WEEKLY, AUGUST 11-17TH, 2000 Issue. Written by Holly Willis

Founded in 1987, the Women's Image Network is devoted to promoting "positive images of women" and one  of the avenues for this promotion is an annual film festival called WinFemme. The festival, now in its second year, features work by or about women, each of which broadens the concept of "women" beyond the narrow, sexually determined image often promoted in mainstream meda.

WinFemme opens with Channeling Baby, a brash, Rashomon-style story of conflicting truths by New Zealand filmmaker Christine Parker. Known for several strong short films, including the beautiful PEACH, Parker brings to her feature debut a thoroughly delightful visual flair resolutely devoted to the possibilities of color and texture. The story is similarly audacious, chronicling the ups and downs in the relationship of a young couple, each of  whom has sustained a serious trauma--Bunnie (Danielle Cormack) finds herself suddenly blind, and Geoff (Kevin Smith) suffers the misfortune of serving in Vietnam.

The early part of the story is set in the 1970's, then leaps forward to the '90s, when a mystery regarding the loss of the couple's baby finally comes to the foreground, and the possibility of resoulution seems near. The story teeters between drama and metaphor, however, gamboling boldly through issues of history, trauma and truth, and while it sometimes feels ungainly as a story, slipping ever so slightly out of control, the film bespeaks an interesting drive to lift storytelling and filmmaking into other realms. It suggests, too, that despite the confining connotations of "women's images" (as in Women's Image Network), the WinFemme Film Festival has an expansive vision."


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Last modified: August 23, 2000