6.7/10
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11 user 21 critic

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

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Peace and love are only half the story.

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

26 July 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

To koinovio  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Himself - Black Bear Resident: I wish I had know I was dying 50 years ago
[chuckles]
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 »

Connections

Features Milestones (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

The Ballad of Cedar and Mahaj
Written and Performed by Cedar Seeger
CedarSongs, BMI
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User Reviews

 
Interesting Portrait of a Particular Place and Time
19 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie did a good job of illustrating a particular place and time in American history.

A bunch of hippies beg some money from some Hollywood types, including apparently James Coburn, and go off to Northern California to begin their alternative lifestyle utopia.

The first winter is harsh and tests them. The reality of hard work sets in. The reality of relationships and kids sets in, and yet they try to stick to their principles of free love, no possessions, and anti-establishment living.

It's easy to make fun of these folks now, but as Peter Coyote says, you can't imagine that kind of idealism that people had back then, that they could create a whole new society. They were trying something new and experimental.

It's fun to watch them try, and sometimes fail. The women begin to emerge out of the show of the men and take some control over the ranch. The reality of raising kids with no schools, and without one committed partner often falls by the wayside. The kid rebels by getting a crew cut. Adults rebel by only sleeping with one partner.

It is, as another reviewer pointed out, a portrait of a time when people thought that anything was possible, and tried to create a new society. That they ultimately may not have succeeded is less important than the journey they took.


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