“How do you get it together unless you come together?”
Ten years after a peaceful socialist revolution has taken place in the United States, women have still not achieved true equality. When a young black lesbian (Jean Satterfield) who has been agitating on behalf of the revolutionary Women’s Army dies in a prison cell, her female comrades take up arms.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Feminism and Women’s Issues
- Science Fiction
Independent filmmaker Lizzie Borden’s directorial debut — which took five years to shoot, on almost no budget — remains a thoughtful, controversial, decidedly unique sci-fi cautionary tale. Borden radically posits that not even a socialist revolution would eradicate gender inequalities; in her imagined future, it would still fall upon women (rather than the government) to protect one another and fight for equal rights. As a narrative, Born in Flames leaves much to be desired, but this is relatively easy to forgive given the remarkable imagery Borden dares to present: several strong, black, lesbian protagonists; butch females on the subway moving in immediately to protect a woman as she’s openly harassed by a man; a group of women riding up on bicycles to scare away a rapist; women taking collective action to fight for the right to keep their jobs. Like the best incendiary films, Born in Flames makes one think differently about life itself, and remains a powerful reminder of independent film’s potential to “subvert the dominant paradigm”.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Several strong black female protagonists
- A refreshing look at a society in which women pro-actively protect one other against harm
Yes, as a one-of-a-kind, much-debated indie flick. Listed as a cult film in the back of Peary’s book.