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Channelling Baby (2000)

After a domestic tragedy, a couple separate to reunite later, over a period of time spanning the 70's to the 90's as Cormack's character loses her eyesight.


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Credited cast:
Jodie Rimmer ...
Baby (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Childbirth Nuse #1
William Sabin ...
David Curtis
Alison Wall ...
Childbirth Nurse #2
Bunny Walters ...


After being blinded by taking drugs in the 1970's during an eclipse, a woman marries her Vietnam soldier boy friend. However, as she remains very flaky, he eventually disappears and takes their child with him. 20 years later, the woman decides to use a medium to try to find her daughter. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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Release Date:

28 February 2000 (Portugal)  »

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User Reviews

A hugely visceral experience full of beautiful images
12 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

I had to wait a long time and work extremely hard to see this film; as a big admirer of New Zealand cinema generally and Danielle Cormack specifically, this has been on the must-see list almost since it was released, and now two years (and many failed attempts to obtain a copy) later I finally get to see it. Was it worth the effort? Very definitely.

'Channelling Baby' is a complex film that takes a very adult look at loss and separation, and examines the way that we deal as human beings with traumatic events through the presentation of conflicting memories and layers of truth surrounding the disappearance many years ago of the baby of the title. The interplay between it's four main characters maintains a high level of tension throughout, and although the events portrayed verge on melodrama, the emotional tone stays very much in the real world: the enduring images of the movie, alternating between the stunningly beautiful and the unbearably poignant, have the power to reach all of us because they speak of the universal themes of hope and despair.

Much of the cast, especially the four leads, will be familiar to fans of Renaissance Pictures 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and 'Xena: Warrior Princess,'American productions that were filmed in New Zealand between 1994-2001 - Kevin Smith, Joel Tobeck and Danielle Cormack all had recurring parts on the shows, and Amber Sainsbury also made several guest appearances. Here we get the chance to see them in very different roles, and to people who haven't previously explored the richness of New Zealand moviemaking, the experience should be an enlightening one. all give excellent good accounts of themselves, and show an impressive range of talents. But this is also very much a film of technical achievement - the cinematography of Rewa Harre is on several occasions quite breathtaking, and there is a wonderful use of colour as subtextual reinforcement of narrative shifts in time and mood; Chris Plummer's editing is also extremely successful in keeping the audience slightly unsettled, as we undergo rapid and provocative shifts from scene to scene.

The film nevertheless belongs to its writer and director Christine Parker, who has given us a truly exciting first full-length work that strikes us both at gut level, pulling few punches (I laughed and cried, and it's been a long time since one movie provoked both reactions in me); and which is also intellectually satisfying. I've worked in the field of mental health all of my adult life, and this film said more to me about the experience of managing psychological pain than any other work I can remember having seen. Brava.

I would not be true to my obsession with Danielle Cormack if I didn't give her some special mention, however! She gives a stunning performance and convinces as a blind woman (no easy task)whose life takes bewildering twists and turns; and she is never less than movingly plausible as she demonstrates almost the whole range of human emotion within Parker's highly literate script. In a movie of many wonderful moments, one scene in particular stands out, beautifully directed and deeply affecting to watch, as Cormack stumbles into the garden of her home and holds her baby up to the sun, begging the universe to notice the child and give to her what she needs. It's an image that will stay with me for a very long time, and exemplifies a film that should be widely seen.

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