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Critic Reviews for Commune
Commune channels a bygone era of drop-outs living an American dream on the Free Love frontier. This is the happy alternative to the apocalyptic California sub-cultures of Charles Manson and the Rev. Jim Jones.
Watching Jonathan Berman's affectionate documentary, Commune, about the influential establishment in Siskiyou County, brought to mind the recent documentary Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple.
Commune gets at the central, seductive paradoxes inherent in so much counterculture belief and practice.
Fitfully interesting, but would have benefited from tighter focus and finer detail.
It's good to hear people talking about openheartedness without irony.
Audience Reviews for Commune
[font=Century Gothic]"Commune" is a satisfactory documentary about the Black Bear Ranch which was founded in 1968 by Richard and Elsa Marley as a secluded refuge in Siskiyou County, California where people could reject the competitive nature of society, be themselves and work together in peace. Despite the collective nature of the commune, what was needed here is a single voice to give a straightforward history of the ranch which is apparently still going strong today, thus avoiding being just another cliche of the 1960's. At the same time, there is too much emphasis on the present day activities of the founders(gee, that Peter Coyote guy certainly did well for himself...) who eventually left the commune to return to the outside world. Even though the documentary is not as deep as it could have been, there is testimony on how women contributed to the workforce and the improvised healthcare.("The Business of Being Born" made a better connection between the communes and the rise in natural childbirth.) So, there was definitely more going on here than the grainy amateur footage of liberated people running around naked would attest to.[/font]
Peace and Love are Only Half the Story
This was so informative and interesting (well, of course it was to me as I am into anything that has to do with the '60s & '70s. :P) This documentary was great because it had in-depth interviews with a lot of the people that lived at the Black Bear Ranch. What's even cooler is that the actor Peter Coyote grew up there and he talked a lot about how it was.
Ah, the beautiful people just enjoying each other. :) That's what it's all about. It was very refreshing. I can totally picture myself living that way, or at least trying it out. I don't (yet) believe this world is so far gone that we can't have a place where people can live happily and free with one another. People, especially the ones my age, may think the '60s where so long ago, but I think the opposite. There's so much to be learned from the past generations and I plan to keep the hippie spirit alive. It's not long ago when you really think about it, humans are humans, no matter if it was 50 or 500 years ago.
This movie demonstrates the positive and negative aspects of living at the commune. It has some awesome footage too. I recommend this to anyone who is curious about what living in a commune is like, especially one of the first seemingly successful ones.
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