. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames

Posted by | gfung | Posted on | March 28, 2024

Thursday, March 28, 8:30 p.m.

Join the iconic filmmaker Lizzie Borden for a screening of BORN IN FLAMES.

Lizzie Borden, Born in Flames, 1983. Courtesy of Janus Films and Anthology Film Archives.

“By turns humorous, satirical, and deadly earnest … a still-potent artifact of political commitment.” —LA Weekly

“Deserves its legendary status and still has the power to challenge.” —Eric Monder, Film Journal International

Lizzie Borden’s legendary second feature is a thrillingly provocative tale of female rebellion set in America 10 years after a social democratic cultural revolution. When Adelaide Norris (Jean Satterfield), the Black radical founder of the Woman’s Army, is mysteriously killed, a diverse group of women—Black, white, queer, hetero, working class, and elite—build a coalition to topple the patriarchy once and for all. Radical in both style and politics, Borden’s film brings together documentary footage, incendiary news reports, and violent action sequences to underscore the urgency of intersectional feminism in the face of oppression. Fueled by a post-punk soundtrack and featuring performances by numerous cultural luminaries including civil rights activist Florynce Kennedy, Honey, Adele Bertei, and Kathryn Bigelow, among many others, Born in Flames continues to resonate today.

Lizzie Borden, 1983, USA, 80 minutes

In English / Format: 35mm

Preserved by Anthology Film Archives with restoration funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.

Presented in partnership with the Gene Siskel Film Center; the University of Illinois Chicago’s (UIC) College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts; and UIC’s Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. 

About the artist

Lizzie Borden is a writer, director, editor, and script consultant. Her 1983 film Born in Flames, named one of “The 50 Most Important Independent Films” by Filmmaker Magazine, has been shown at countless festivals and theaters around the world. It has been taught and written about extensively since its 1983 premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2016, when the film was restored by Anthology Film Archives, New Yorker critic Richard Brody called it “a feminist masterpiece.” Borden also wrote, directed, and produced the controversial independent fiction film Working Girls, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Directors’ Fortnight, won a US Dramatic Special Jury Recognition at the Sundance Film Festival, and was restored by the Criterion Collection in 2021. Borden’s long-unseen 1976 film Regrouping was restored by Anthology Film Archives in 2023.


CATE events are presented with real-time captions (CART). Hearing loops, wheelchair accessibility, and companion seating are also available at the @filmcenter. For other accessibility requests, please visit saic.edu/access or write cate@saic.edu.