Born in Flames (1983)

Article 4937 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-24-2015
Directed by Lizzie Borden
Featuring Honey, Adele Bertei, Jean Satterfield
Country: USA
What it is: Independent feminist tract

In the future, ten years after a peaceful socialist revolution in the United States, a group of women form an underground organization to battle the injustices of the political system. They try to work peacefully, but when one of their number is arrested and dies in prison, they decide to change their peaceful strategy.

This is one of those independently made art films which, to these eyes, functions primarily as a call to arms for radical feminists. On the surface, it appears to be a science fiction movie, but there’s nothing that appears remotely futuristic in the movie, and I don’t see any ways in which this society works that is inherently different from how it worked at the time. Granted, the movie’s fractured, jagged presentation (though the movie is not presented as a documentary, it’s filmed in the style of one) makes it often difficult to tell what’s going on, and since most of the movie focuses on the members of the underground, we don’t get much in the way of detail of this future world. I suspect the science fiction aspect of the movie only exists so the movie can make the point that a “peaceful” revolution will solve nothing. Some of the music in the movie is not bad, but unfortunately, the title song (which plays at least four times during the movie) is rather screechy and unpleasant. Most of the movie seems to consist of revolutionary rhetoric, and this gets old if you’re not a revolutionary. I suspect the movie would best be appreciated by radical feminists; the rest of us might be hard pressed to find something to like about it.


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