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Commune (2005)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 26 July 2005 (USA)
A documentary on the Black Bear Ranch Commune, an alternative living community founded in 1968 in the remote North Californian wilderness.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mahaj Seeger ...
Herself - Black Bear Resident
Himself - Black Bear Resident
Cedar Seeger ...
Himself - Black Bear Resident
Mel Kramer ...
Himself - Local Resident
Elsa Marley ...
Herself - Black Bear Resident
Michael Tierra ...
Himself - Black Bear Resident
Richard Marley ...
Himself - Black Bear Resident
Larry Bacon ...
Himself - Public Defender
Hoss Bennett ...
Himself - Neighbor
Creek Hanauer ...
Himself - Black Bear Resident
Harriet Beinfeld ...
Herself - Black Bear Resident
Martin Linhart ...
Himself - Black Bear Resident
Peter Leaf ...
Himself - Black Bear Resident
Osha Neumann ...
Himself - Black Bear Resident
Kenoli Oleari ...
Himself - Black Bear Resident


In the late 1960s, a few free thinkers cobbled together donations, primarily from Hollywood, to buy 80 acres at the end of a dirt road in Siskiyou County, California: Big Bear Ranch, a commune with the motto "free land for free people." Archival footage, photographs, documents and news articles, and interviews with people who lived or still live there tell the commune's history: the cold first winter, women and men doing the same work, communal decision making, emerging environmental politics, free love and family formation, child rearing and memories of growing up there, a late 70's crisis with a cult-like group that moved in, and assessment by those grown old of what Big Bear meant. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Peace and love are only half the story.




Not Rated

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 July 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

To koinovio  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the news reports in the film, it is said that the Vietnam War has just finished, which occurred in 1975. However, Pol Pot is mentioned several times in the news before this announcement. Pol Pot did not become leader of Cambodia until October 1976, and he was largely unknown in Europe at the time that the Vietnam War ended. See more »


Himself - Black Bear Resident: I wish I had know I was dying 50 years ago
Himself - Black Bear Resident: ... because, you know, I might have paid more attention to some of the things that I kind of brushed aside.
See more »


Features Shadow of Fear (2004) See more »


The Ballad of Cedar and Mahaj
Written and Performed by Cedar Seeger
CedarSongs, BMI
See more »

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User Reviews

The first accurate film portrayal of the 1960s counter-culture
17 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

This is the first, and as far as I can tell, the only documentary portrayal of the 1960s counter-culture as it actually existed. It is a sympathetic portrayal, completely devoid of the usual condescension, contempt, and hindsight revisionism.

This is not a film about clothes or rock music. It is a film about people of serious intent who were willing to go the distance and who devoted their lives to one another in a large family of their own making. "Commune" is an important American historical document and must be seen by anyone wishing to understand what on earth was going on in this country during the late 1960s to mid-1970s.

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