7:15 pm | 1 hr 20 min | released 1983 | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Born in Flames is a 1983 documentary-style feminist science fiction film by Lizzie Borden that explores racism, classism, sexism and heterosexism in an alternative United States socialist democracy.

Set ten years after the most peaceful revolution in United States history, a revolution in which a socialist government gains power, this films presents a dystopia in which the issues of many progressive groups – minorities, liberals, gay rights organizations, feminists – are ostensibly dealt with by the government, and yet there are still problems with jobs, with gender issues, with governmental preference and violence. In New York City, in this future time, a group of women decide to organize and mobilize, to take the revolution farther than any man – and many women – ever imagined in their lifetimes.

The Rosendale Theatre is pleased to present another great movie: this one from the vault! Born in Flames, a 1983 science fiction film by director Lizzie Borden that explores racism, classism, and sexism in an alternative “future” United States.

This provocative, thrilling and still-relevant classic is a comic fantasy of female rebellion in America. When Adelaide Norris, the black radical founder of the Woman’s Army, is mysteriously killed, a diverse coalition of women–across all lines of race, class, and sexual preference–emerges to blow the System apart.

Set slightly in the future in a world resembling our own (or rather downtown NYC in the late 70s/early 80s), Born in Flames uses documentary techniques alongside invented narratives to tell the story of a feminist insurgency ten years after the Second American Revolution. Promised social progress and equality, women and minorities feel even more oppressed and abandoned than before. Competing pirate radio stations provide news to the confused public from different points of view, while the government attempts to quell it all.

Featuring performances from Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker), Adele Bertei (Secrets of a Chambermaid), and Eric Bogosian, and the memorable theme song by the band Red Crayola, Born in Flames examines the extremist agendas of two different feminist groups as they strategize, debate, take up arms, and form a true Women’s Army. The film swings between various protagonists and political viewpoints, creating an inclusive atmosphere that allows for a larger, very real political discussion to develop.

Richard Brody of The New Yorker wrote:

Before “indie” was a brand, it was sometimes called guerrilla filmmaking, and in “Born in Flames” the feeling of a movie arising from its filmmaker’s fierce passion—it took Borden five years of stolen moments to get it done—converges with its very subject. The film is a sort of political science fiction, set in an unspecified future that’s seemingly identical to the time of its making, in which—ten years after the “Social Democratic War of Liberation,” a peaceful socialist revolution—the fractures beneath the surface of the new policies come to the fore and New York women plot a revolution within the revolution.

“By turns humorous, satirical and deadly earnest. A still-potent artifact of political commitment.” LA Weekly

TRAILER: Born in Flames (1983) from Caleb Andrew Ward on Vimeo.