by Lizzie Borden
Presented by White Light Cinema
Cinema Borealis, 1550 N. Milwaukee, 4th Floor
January 21st, 2012
“In 1983 when I saw Lizzie Borden’s BORN IN FLAMES, I was seeing a revolutionary movie with mostly female characters living in a self-constructed world surrounded by a hostile environment. Posing as a sci-fi narrative BORN IN FLAMES released the pent up frustrations from the seventies that saw not enough change. Women were still second class citizens and glass ceilings were not rising but lowering. Two radical women’s groups do not see eye to eye. One group is led by a white lesbian leader who is loud and contentious. The other group’s leader is soft spoken and African-American. They both operate separate and competing radio stations. We were all about ready to join the Women’s Army after seeing BORN IN FLAMES.” (Barbara Hammer, 2010)
“BORN IN FLAMES [by Lizzie Borden] is already controversial as one of the least assimilatable films for male viewers (they hate it) due to its assumption of an all-woman nonracist universe.” (B. Ruby Rich, Women’s Independent Film Festival, Minneapolis, 1983)
“This provocative, thrilling, and still-relevant classic is a comic fantasy of female rebellion set in America ten years after the Second American Revolution. Embedded within the radical feminist underground, it follows the activities of the Women’s Army, a powerful but loosely organized faction of female vigilantes and counterrevolutionaries, and two pirate radio programs trying to awaken the sisterhood and shake up the system. When the outspoken Black leader of the Women’s Army dies in police custody, a united front emerges to take direct action and potentially dangerous measures.” (Anthology Film Archives/First Run Features)
“In her classic indie polemic on racism, sexism and socialism, director Lizzie Borden definitely has her own ax to wield – and grind. On the tenth anniversary of the United States’ Social Democratic War of Liberation, the government celebrates “the most peaceful revolution the world has known,” while the citizenry becomes increasingly angry and agitated. In this alternate America, government oppression and violence against women is rampant, and the feminist response is potent. Embedded within the radical feminist underground, BORN IN FLAMES follows the activities of the Women’s Army, a powerful but loosely organized faction of female vigilantes and counterrevolutionaries, and two pirate radio programs trying to awaken the sisterhood and shake up the system. Three female reporters (including a young Kathryn Bigelow) for the government’s Socialist Youth Review newspaper play intelligent counterpoint to the antiestablishment activities, but when the outspoken Black leader of the Women’s Army dies in police custody, a united front emerges to take direct action and potentially dangerous measures. A futuristic feminist drama shot 25 years ago in vérité documentary style, BORN IN FLAMES defies the borders of time and politics – here, the past is still very much the present, the revolution still the reality.” (Joanne Parsont, Frameline 31)
BORN IN FLAMES directed by Lizzie Borden
(1983, 90 mins., 16mm, US)
Starring Honey, Adele Bertei, Jean Satterfield, Flo Kennedy, Becky Johnston, Pat Murphy, Kathryn Bigelow, Hillary Hurst, Ron Vawter, and Eric Bogosian.
Camera/Additional Camera (selected) by Dee Dee Halleck, Gary Hill, Greta Schiller, Peter Hutton, Chris Hegedus, and Michael Oblowitz.
Filed under: 16mm, feminism