Lizzie Borden's radical feminist masterpiece is as incendiary (and relevant) now as it was at the dawn of the Reaganite '80s. Made over five years for a mere $40,000, Born in Flames centres on two female-run pirate radio stations that are fomenting rebellion against a patriarchal Socialist Democratic government that has not lived up to its promises. Galvanized by the suspicious death of an incarcerated activist, a grassroots "Women's Army" agitates for direct action, their progressive move into militancy covered by the radio stations and a trio of female reporters working for a state-run newspaper. Borden employs these multiple ideological viewpoints on the narrative action to present a kaleidoscopic range of feminist viewpoints (black, white, lesbian, straight), modelling an intersectionality that was rare in those dying days of second-wave feminism. Raising the middle finger to the white male-dominated avant-garde canon, Borden's ferocious underground classic is a cannon all its own, propelled along by a relentless post-punk energy that starts with the pumping theme song by The Red Crayola and Lora Logic and featuring performances by Adel Bertei and a young Kathryn Bigelow. (TIFF)
Preserved by Anthology Film Archives with restoration funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.