Born in Flames

  • Directed by Lizzie Borden
  • United States, 1983, 80 mins., English

Borden’s landmark, low-budget revolutionary treatise addresses a semi-documentary, semi-fictional parallel world to ours, where competing feminist groups wander the streets and control the radio waves, and where the “Social Democratic” administration in power is powerless to stop the tide of progress stemming from racial and gender injustice. Focused on the different paths resistance to power can take, Borden’s vision unspools through inventive set-pieces intercut with monologues from two radical radio DJs (Adele Bertei and Honey) who rousingly hold forth on a variety of issues facing the world community. An instant hit upon its premiere at the 1983 Berlin Film Festival, Born in Flames has since influenced countless feminists. This “unruly, unclassifiable film—perhaps the sole entry in the hybrid genre of radical-lesbian-feminist sci-fi vérité—premiered two years into the Reagan regime, but its fury proves as bracing today as it was back when this country began its inexorable shift to the right.”—Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice.

New 35mm print; preserved by Anthology Film Archives with restoration funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.

Appears in: Print the Legend

Genres: Sci-Fi, Comedy