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2024 Women’s History Month film series

Lizzie Borden film series flyer

In honor of Women’s History Month, UIC Gender & Women’s Studies (GWS)–in partnership with the UIC College of Architecture, Design and the Arts, the School of the Art Institute Chicago and the Gene Siskel Film Center–will be hosting a two-day series of film screenings with renowned American indie filmmaker Lizzie Borden.

Borden is a writer, director, producer, editor and script consultant who has utilized experimental techniques in her works to examine sexuality, race, class, power and capitalism through an intersectional feminist lens. Three of her most celebrated films will be featured in this series, which she will introduce as well as participate in audience discussions about after each screening.

The following films will be screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State Street):


Thursday, March 28
6pm – 8pm CST

Borden’s long-unseen, daring 1976 first feature is a shapeshifting portrait of a women’s collective and the slippery relationship between a filmmaker and her subjects.

When the collective breaks down, the film similarly fragments, with the introduction of fictional characters, disjunctive sounds and images and multi-textual observations by artists outside the group–including Joan Jonas, Barbara Kruger, Nancy Holt and Kathryn Bigelow–resulting in a rich and complicated depiction of 1970s feminism.

The collective protested Borden’s final cut after the film’s 1976 premiere and Borden shelved the film for many years. Now, with the participants’ permission, it is circulating once more in a 2023 restoration by Anthology Film Archives.


Born in Flames:
Thursday, March 28
8:30pm – 10:30pm CST

Borden’s legendary 1983 second feature–named one of the “50 Most Important Independent Films” by Filmmaker Magazine–is a thrillingly provocative tale of female rebellion set in America ten 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–Born in Flames continues to resonate today.


This film has been shown at countless festivals and theaters around the world and has been taught and written about extensively since its 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.”


Working Girls:
Friday, March 29
6pm – 8pm

In her controversial and groundbreaking 1986 third feature, Borden looks at gender, race and labor relations in a Manhattan brothel.

Inspired by the experiences of sex workers Borden met while making Born in FlamesWorking Girls follows the rhythms of a day-in-the life of Molly (Louise Smith), an artist who turns to sex work to fund her photography practice (images provided by the artist Nan Goldin). Molly and her colleagues greet clients in the brothel’s pastel-hued reception, change sheets, answer the phone and log their earnings in a ledger overseen by their overpaid boss, paralleling women’s labor of all kinds—from domestic to the office.

This film 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.

Each film screening is free for UIC students, and general admission tickets will also be available for purchase starting Sunday, March 24 at the Gene Siskel Film Center box office. Students must show a valid school ID to receive their free ticket, and there is a limit of one free ticket per UIC ID.


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