The first film by would-be cult filmmaker Lizzie Borden, Born In Flames is a bizarre Trotskyite radical-feminist science-fiction allegory from 1983. The plot, what little there is of it, concerns an America 10 years after a socialist revolution, in which a divergent black lesbian separatist group begins to stir up trouble within the moderate, compromised government in power. When the leader of the rebel movement is brutally murdered behind bars, it serves as a catalyst for sweeping social change. Interesting as a historical curio but nearly unwatchable as entertainment, Born In Flames is a pretentious mishmash of amateurish acting, dialogue stolen from a freshman text on Marxist feminism, bizarre montage sequences set to bad new-wave music, and simplistic leftist propaganda. One can certainly admire Borden's ambition, but the fact of the matter is that her mammoth ambition is only matched by 1) her incompetence as a filmmaker, and 2) her inability to create characters that serve as anything other than mouthpieces for long-winded, simplistic speeches. Anyone outside its target demographic of Trotskyite black lesbian separatists should avoid it at all costs.

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