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Anthology Film Archives
New York, NY
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Anthology Film Archives is thrilled to welcome filmmaker Lizzie Borden for screenings in our RE-VISIONS series. RE-VISIONS: AMERICAN EXPERIMENTAL FILM 1975-90, spotlights the generation(s) of experimental film artists who emerged after the final formation in 1975 of our Essential Cinema repertory screening cycle. For Borden's RE-VISIONS programs, we're overjoyed to premiere our brand-new 35mm preservation of BORN IN FLAMES, alongside very rare screenings of her debut feature, REGROUPING, presented in collaboration with the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project.

Directed by Lizzie Borden. 1983, 85 min, 16mm-to-35mm.
Preserved by Anthology Film Archives with restoration funding by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation. Laboratory services by Video and Film Solutions and Audio Mechanics.
- Fri, Feb 19 through Thurs, Feb 25 at 7:15 & 9:15 nightly.

With Lizzie Borden in person Feb 19-21!

Lizzie Borden will be here in person on Friday, February 19, for a special talk following the 7:15 screening; she'll be joined by two of the stars of BORN IN FLAMES, Adele Bertei and Jeanne Satterfield, as well as film critic Amy Taubin who will moderate the conversation!  Borden will also be here to present the screenings on Saturday & Sunday, February 20 & 21.

Our neighbors Bluestockings Bookstore, one of the last remaining feminist bookstores in America, will be at opening night selling books and a selection of other items like pins, patches and tote bags!


This brand new 35mm preservation print of BORN IN FLAMES was produced as part of a multi-year restoration project supported by the Film Foundation and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Filmed on a hodgepodge of 16mm camera stocks over a number of years, the original footage for this crucial film has long been lost. Working from a damaged original 16mm internegative we have managed to create this pristine restoration, a vast improvement on older exhibition copies.

A landmark of early 1980s American independent cinema, and made for only $40,000, Borden's BORN IN FLAMES is figuratively and literally an all-out attack on our patriarchal society, a call to arms for women everywhere. This Molotov cocktail of a film became an instant classic of feminist cinema upon its premiere at the 1983 Berlin Film Festival. An unlikely underground breakout that received widespread attention and commercial distribution, BORN IN FLAMES is a film whose impact has never waned.

Set slightly in the future in a world largely 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 against the incumbent Socialist Democratic government. Promised social progress and equality by the current administration, women and minorities feel even more oppressed and abandoned than before. Competing pirate radio stations provide news to the confused public from different ideological positions within the radical movement, while the government attempts to quell it all. Featuring performances from Kathryn Bigelow, Adele Bertei, and Ron Vawter, and a fantastic theme song by The Red Krayola, BORN IN FLAMES examines the extremist agendas of two different feminist groups as they strategize, debate, take up arms, and form a true Womens 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.

"BORN IN FLAMES still maintains the legendary status it reached even before its completion. Four years in the making, shot by a half-dozen cinematographers on a shoestring budget using real people (who age and change hairdo from one shot to the next) and real locations, and mixing pop music black rhythms and new rock, improvised acting, political speeches, humor and violence, the film had a cult following as soon as it was screened in Berlin, Paris, and New York." - Berenice Reynaud, Difficult Language: Notes on Independent Cinema by Women in the Eighties

"Like the political assassination that serves as a rallying point for its characters, BORN IN FLAMES appears as if out of nowhere to provoke an otherwise moribund film scene. [;;];; Subjects generally repressed in America race, class, feminism, social revolt, the power of the media  come tumbling out across the screen one after another with the liberating force of thought set free. There have been films made about all of the above ideas in the past (Godard's COMMENT ÇA VA?, Wajda's MAN OF MARBLE, and Yvonne Rainer's JOURNEYS FROM BERLIN/1971, to name only three), but few so dexterously and none so unintimidated by either the Scylla of theory or the Charybdis of the marketplace." - David Ehrenstein, FILM: THE FRONT LINE 1984

This week-long revival run is presented as part of our ongoing series, RE-VISIONS; for more information on BORN IN FLAMES, and additional Lizzie Borden screenings, see:

Plus we're also screening Borden's debut feature:
Directed by Lizzie Borden. 1976, 80 min, 16mm, b&w. This screening is co-presented by the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project; archival print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive.
In this experimental film, Borden explores the dynamics among the members of a woman's group. As she interviews people who know them, such as Joan Jonas, the group shoots artistic scenes of themselves  but Borden feels they arent fully grappling with issues of sexuality and politics. Are they a serious group  or just friends? After showing an early edit of the film to the group, its members, upset, close ranks. Undeterred, Borden incorporates the groups arguments into another edit, filming larger groups commenting both on the original one and on consciousness-raising groups in general. Uncredited voices include those of Barbara Kruger and Kathryn Bigelow.
- Sat & Sun, Feb 20 & 21 at 4:45 each day.

Saturday, February 20 screening: Q&A with Lizzie Borden, moderated by Amy Taubin!
> Tickets for REGROUPING will only be available at the box office on the day of the show<


Born in Detroit, Michigan, Lizzie Borden is best known for her anarcha-feminist classic, BORN IN FLAMES (1983), which B. Ruby Rich calls, "A precursor to New Queer Cinema in its genre hybridization (radical-lesbian-feminist-sci-fi vérité) and political fury." Borden has created a small but explosive body of work that challenges viewers to rethink their assumptions about gender, sexuality, race, and class.

After majoring in art history at Wellesley College, Borden moved to NYC where she originally aspired to be a painter and wrote for Artforum Magazine. She began her filmmaking career by creating the soundtrack for Richard Serras documentary, STEELMILL. Borden's first feature was REGROUPING (1976), about a womens consciousness-raising group. The homogeneity of race and class in the group led her to embark on BORN IN FLAMES, while her interest in the sex industry and labor resulted in WORKING GIRLS (1986), an un-romanticized look at a middle-class brothel in Manhattan. Borden landed in movie jail with her studio-recut, erotic thriller LOVE CRIMES (1992), but has since directed several TV episodes, including RED SHOE DIARIES and Propaganda Films INSIDE OUT, starring Alexis Arquette, Joe Dallesandro, and Mary Woronov.


Anthology Film Archives (View)
32 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003
United States


Film > Movies

Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


Owner: Anthology Film Archives
On BPT Since: Apr 04, 2014
Anthology Film Archives
(212) 505-5181

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