Artists' Television Access

Left Eye Cinema: Born in Flames

Saturday, August 25, 2018, 8:00 pm, $7_$10

Presented by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

Born in Flames is a 1983 documentary-style feminist fiction film by Lizzie Borden that explores racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism in an alternative United States socialist democracy.[1] The title comes from the song Born in Flames written by a member of Art & Language, Mayo Thompson of the band Red Krayola.[2]

Born in Flames is set in a near future U.S. (though it pointedly looks very present), a decade after a Socialist Democratic Cultural Revolution has purportedly created equality between the sexes. Of course, it hasn’t created equality in practice; despite official messages proffered by the media, women are still discriminated against in the workplace, sexually attacked on the street, and undervalued in the home. Four groups of women separately mount challenges to these structural inequalities; the Women’s Army activists, academic journalists, and two underground radio stations are variously comprised of poor women, non-white women, lesbians, and white middle-class women. When these disparate groups band together, they successfully take over the ultimate power source: the media. Importantly, as real-life activist Flo Kennedy voices in the film, it is precisely the women’s valuing of their different strengths that proves so crucial to their fight; or to quote Audre Lorde, their differences must “spark like a dialectic” to effect change and revolution.

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