Born in Flames Pits Solidarity Against Dogmatism


My eyes are wide open to the fact that there would still be problems under a socialist government. The government we see in this movie is not socialist. And I’m glad that the film addresses this directly (or as directly as it can in its pseudo-documentary style). I’m also glad that it addresses the fact that critiquing an imperfect revolution can give ammo to counterrevolutionaries, but that sometimes it’s still necessary.

Should we just make this whole review things I’m glad about? Yes, let’s. I’m glad that this movie exists. Like, at all. I’m glad that the thrust of its argument is so easy to follow despite its chaotic tone. Chaos is part of its argument. Chaos is not a goal unto itself, but it is an important part of the process of getting where we need to be.

(One thing I’m not glad about: this movie could’ve been gayer. Like, a lot gayer. Every summary I’ve read says that it tackles racism, sexism, and heterosexism, and I think it mentioned queerness once and never in the context of trying to wipe out homophobia or transphobia.)

I’m glad we see some characters in this start out in a position of infuriating complacency (I refer to the privileged-seeming editorial board of the newspaper, not the struggling women who clearly have every reason to be suspicious) and end up united in solidarity. There is no real single protagonist, but a collection of protagonists. None of whom are judged. Whatever path brings them to solidarity, that is the path they walked. The important thing is they got there.

Finally, one last thing I’m glad about. I’m glad that this line was in this movie (indeed, any movie):

“Police have been puzzled in the last week by what they describe as well-organized bands of 15 to 20 women on bicycles attacking men on the street. While the victims have claimed that these incidents were unprovoked, eyewitness reports have led investigators to believe that these men may themselves have been attempting to assault women.”



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