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
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 »
Intelligent, even handed look at life in a 60s/70s commune
Interesting, insightful look at the Black Bear Ranch Commune, one of the many alternative living situations people explored in the late 60s and early 70s.
By interviewing a diverse number of members, it gives what feels like a pretty accurate non- biased view of both the strengths and weaknesses, intelligence and stupidity, bravery and cowardice, generosity and selfishness, openness and didacticism that went into this rag tag bunch trying to show the world there was another way to live then simply as 'consumers' or 'employees'.
Actor Peter Coyote, who was a member, is particularly articulate about the goals, the successes and the failures. The film also has a sense of humor, which helps. Not a life changing documentary, but certainly an interesting one.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this