The FAG tapes 2: Born in Flames

Film as Film: Formal Experiment in Film
Hayward Gallery, 1979

Film As Film, Exhibition Catalogue, 1979

“It is as though a line could be drawn between past and present and pieces of a person’s life and work pegged on it; no exceptions, no change — theory looks nice — the similarity of item to item reassuring — shirt to shirt — shoulder to shoulder — an inflexible chain, each part in place. The pattern is defined. Cut the line and chronology falls in a crumpled heap. I prefer a crumbled heap, history at my feet, not stretched above my head.”
Lis Rhodes, “Whose History,” in The British Avant-Garde Film: 1926–95: An Anthology of Writings, ed. Michael O’Pray (Luton: University of Luton, 1996), 194.

1 January 2012

In response to TIFF’s (Men)ssential(ist) List of the top 100 films ever made featuring only one film directed by a woman (Agnès Varda’s Cleo de 5 a 7), a screening of Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames took place and became the inauguration of FAG as a micro-cinema. Borden’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi feminist allegory proposes a radical alternate reality and generated the beginnings of what would become an accumulative conversation centered around a work from the Cinenova Collection but speaking to our contemporary political moment.

Born in Flames:

Extracted from transcripts of the post screening exchange:

“I was thinking a lot about the Occupy Movement…. What I thought was happening in the movie was they started talking about how they were all so fractured and if only they could get together they could have more power and that was being interrupted by the idea that maybe we shouldn’t be all one that we should be fractured so that we’re more powerful and then they seemed to all come together at the end, that’s what I got from it. But I thought it was really interesting in this moment that we’re having now where there is this full acceptance of the idea, no let’s not join together let’s just keep the questions going and what was so fascinating about Occupy was that the media didn’t know how to talk about it they had to ask questions and so they had to get this whole variety of answers. They couldn’t find a leader, which is incredible.”

“It’s so exciting too to see feminism or feminist activism represented because we never ever get to see it. But then also to see it represented in this really complex way where it’s not about a unified front and it shows all the complications around different ideas about the effectiveness of action, what kind of action, how to think it through and stop thinking through and do it. I love it because of that part, seeing this complex feminism that seems to capture it in this way that of course it ends up being kind of hard to get because it’s trying to do so many things at once.”

Natalie Kourie Towe

Listen to Natalie Kourie Towe
reflect on the screenings and emergent themes and the questions to which they gave rise. 59 seconds. 2012/02/18