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.

And the whole film is up on Youtube!

"There's always an excuse for why they can't give you total equality." - Lizzie Borden on  BORN IN FLAMES

WhoCaresAboutActresses loves Lizzie Borden and her film, Born in Flames

“I wanted to show the opportunism of a move that looks progressive but is just an opportunistic ploy to enable the society to recover a bit before women are forced back into ordinary, “pre-revolutionary” roles. And there’s always an excuse, like "we can’t give you total equality now because of the state of the economy.” This is similar to what happens during war—when women are needed they are elevated to the same economic position as men and then when they are not needed they are pushed back again.“

Lizzie Borden discussing her film, Born in Flames in BOMB Magazine interview with Betsy Sussler.

Watch the entire film here!

We’ll be hosting Born in Flames on - where you can log in using Facebook or Google, and discuss the film with others in the chatroom. Live link will be shared on 2nd march!

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.

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Watch trailer here and please spread the word!


”It’s one of those movies where you’re like, ‘Everybody needs to see this.’ When we signed autographs in Bikini Kill, we used to write a list of movies. It was Born In FlamesTimes Square, and Out Of The Blue, I used to just write that down. After a while, it was too many people, and I couldn’t write three, so I would just write, ‘Kathleen Hanna Born In Flames.’ I would tell people, ‘Get that movie.’”

In Mad Love, riot grrrl poster child Kathleen Hanna explains her fondness for Born In Flames,  a feminist landmark that many people nonetheless regard as an abrasive mess.  [Read more…]


Born in Flames (1981)

Film about a revolution in the U.S.A. and the problems of trying to maintain its ideals…

SYNOPSIS: The film starts as the introduction to a documentary looking back at the revolution ten years ago that installed a European style social democracy in the United States of America. This revolution was lead by a number of groups: The major one being the Women’s Army, headed by Hilary Hurst, which was a voice for the women who were getting laid off work and unable to get employment, and also who stuck together to fight sexual discrimination on the streets. There are also two pirate radio stations; one lead by Isabella, who presents Radio Ragazza, and Radio Phoenix presented by Honey. These three different factions, though disagreeing on each others methods, and what should be done, they all agree that they themselves have to stand up to the government and bring on this revolution.

One of the political activists, Adelaide Norris, having been tracked by members of the FBI, is arrested when she arrives back in the U.S. accused of smuggling weapons into the country. She suspiciously dies while in police custody, leading the different political groups to become even more vocal, and even be branded as terrorists. During an address to the nation by the President, members of the Women’s Army hijack on of the major TV stations to protest against the President’s plans to introduce a wage for women who do housework. Eventually, Radio Ragazza and Radio Phoenix are both burned down under mysterious circumstances, and the two team up with the Women’s Army and start broadcasting out of moving vans as they continue their fight for social change…

THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Born in Flames is a little-known indie film labelled as “science-fiction”, but not really possessing any of the traditional sci-fi elements. The idea of a utopia is prevalent in the movie, but it is constantly disagreed on what a utopia should be. The movie is very political in nature, making a powerful social commentary not just about the marginalisation of women, but all those in society who are swept under the rug by the government.

The plot unfolds through a number of narratives, from a documentary that traces the origin of the revolution, to the reportings of a socialist newspaper, and through some powerful imagery and underground music. Their isn’t a standard A to B plot; the movie wanders in a non-linear fashion, which perhaps make it difficult to follow where in the events of the film one is, but the message that the movie wants to make; that the concept of “utopia” is different for everyone.

Being an indie film, there are no well-polished sets or highly theatrical performances, and this certainly adds to the gritty, down-to-Earth feel of the movie. Not having the oversight and demographic pandering of movie studios that Hollywood inevitably has too means the movie can really get to grips with some real controversial issues.

In the end, we see that the different factions start to work together when once again the government that they help to establish distances themselves from them and brands them “terrorists”, their is a pretty powerful image at the very end, as the group plants a bomb on the top of the World Trade Centre and blows up the communications anntena on top, disrupting the government’s communications. This was probably not quite so powerful when the movie was released, but considering the fate of the World Trade Centre towers since then, it gives a whole new dimension and impact to the scene that the writers could not have foretold, yet perhaps it adds something to the film and even strengthens its impact. Overall, the movie has a strong message and gets it across very well, and it is definitely worth a watch.


I have some short films that will be screening at the Red Clover Collective in Baltimore (603 E 30th St) on Thursday, Aug 25 at 8pm. $1-2 suggested donation. The event is organized by the Baltimore Feminist Reading Group and is open to women, gender variant, and trans-identified folk. The films I am screening were made during the Digital Desperados workshop and are about the following topics: technology and embodiment, police brutality, sexualized violence against women and immigrants, bodily humiliation and confessions, and a lonely and hungry woman who assaults a cop with a dildo. Trigger warning for sexual assault for the film “The Wing Thing” (there will be time to exit if needed).

The film will be screening with Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames. YES.

Please join us for a free screening of BORN IN FLAMES, Lizzie Borden’s legendary 1983 radical lesbian/feminist science fiction movie about girl gangs resisting sexism, racism, and heterosexism.

this Friday, June 8th, at 7:30pm
at Libertalia: 280 Broadway on the west side of Providence
free, 80 minutes in color and in English, not rated

an online reviewer says

Born in Flames is outsider cinema at its finest, political cinema at its most powerful, and it serves as a major milestone for what would eventually evolve into the American independent film scene. Needless to say, it’s a rather impressive film. … it’s one of the few films to accurately reflect how a myriad of political issues—gender equality, racial equality, sexual equality, class issues, etc.—are all integrally linked.

More information at
Kathleen Hanna on the film that’s inspired her for decades
Kathleen Hanna, subject of the new documentary The Punk Singer, feels so strongly about the 1983 Lizzie Borden film Born In Flames that she ...

“I wish [riot grrrl]  would’ve been more like Born In Flames, and I felt like that was the movie I learned more from about organizing, and about possibilities, and about it being okay to make a map of an invisible place that doesn’t exist yet.” -Kathleen Hanna