November 2019, arsenal cinema

In person: Lizzie Borden und Bette Gordon


VARIETY (USA 1983) by Bette Gordon and BORN IN FLAMES (USA 1983) by Lizzie Borden have influenced feminist film historiography and theory for decades. Both films were made in New York in 1983 as part of the Independent Cinema movement. They were shown at the Berlinale Forum and distributed by Arsenal in the German-speaking world afterwards. In the meantime, both are available in restored versions. In collaboration with the Viennale, we are celebrating this fact by returning them to the big screen. We are happy that the two directors will be in Berlin and Vienna to talk about the films at a present in which they have gained a whole new relevance. Unfortunately Lizzie Borden has had to cancel her visit to Berlin.

VARIETY is an attempt to break open male-dominated structures of looking. Christine has a job in New York selling tickets at a porn theater. From her ticket booth, she observes the clientele. Gradually, she develops a fascination for the porn industry. When one client invites her to a baseball game and abruptly leaves, she begins to follow him. Her obsession leads her to dark streets, to fish markers, and perhaps into the world of the Mafia.

BORN IN FLAMES is a feminist vision of a future America that only superficially recognizes equal rights for women despite a cultural revolution having taken place. Out of rage at empty socialist promises, an army of radical women take up the battle against sexism and racism. This initially non-violent crusade escalates when one of the leading figures dies in prison under mysterious circumstances. Kathryn Bigelow plays the editor of a feminist magazine in her only ever acting role. (stss) (3.11.)

arsenal cinema: In person: Lizzie Borden und Bette Gordon

05:00 pm Cinema 1


Born in Flames

*Variety Bette Gordon USA 1983
35 mm OV 100 min
19.30: *Born in Flames Lizzie Borden USA 1983
DCP OV/GeS 81 min
Preserved by Anthology Film Archives with restauration funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation

Followed by a panel discussion with Lizzie Borden and Bette Gordon Unfortunately Lizzie Borden has had to cancel her visit to Berlin.
arsenal cinema: Peter Lilienthal Retrospective (2) 

07:00 pm Cinema 2

Dear Mr Wonderful

*Dear Mr Wonderful FRG 1982 DCP 115 min