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American Commune (2013)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 29 April 2013 (USA)
In 1970, 1,500 hippies and their guru Stephen Gaskin founded a commune in rural Tennessee. Members forked over their savings, grew their own food, delivered their babies at home and built a... See full summary »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Rena Mundo Croshere Rena Mundo Croshere ... Herself
Nadine Mundo Nadine Mundo ... Herself
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Storyline

In 1970, 1,500 hippies and their guru Stephen Gaskin founded a commune in rural Tennessee. Members forked over their savings, grew their own food, delivered their babies at home and built a self-sufficient society. Raised in this alternative community by a Jewish mother from Beverly Hills and a Puerto Rican father from the Bronx, filmmakers and sisters Rena and Nadine return for the first time since leaving in 1985. Finally ready to face the past after years of hiding their upbringing, they chart the rise and fall of America's largest utopian socialist experiment and their own family tree. The nascent idealism of a community destroyed, in part, by its own success is reflected in the personal story of a family unit split apart by differences. American Commune finds inspiration in failure, humor in deprivation and, most surprisingly, that communal values are alive and well in the next generation. Written by Mundo Films

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Facebook | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 April 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amerikaniko koinovio See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mundo Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Gitmo Hill
Written by Erin O'Hara, Performed by Erin O'Hara
Motherlove Music BMI
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User Reviews

 
Rare, excellent documentary
17 September 2015 | by rkhenSee all my reviews

This is a privileged view inside an oft-critiqued but little studied historical movement, the "60s commune". (Most of which actually happened in the 70s, but "60s" is shorthand for hippy counterculture. Most of which also happened in the 70s.)

The angle is unique: two children of America's largest and most successful commune return to the scene of the crime as adults to revisit their early years, reconnect with happy memories, and make peace with some of the resentment they still feel about their unorthodox childhood. This is a rare, balanced treatment of the subject, from the perspective of younger participants not caught up in the ideology of their parents' generation, but who took the same wild ride all the same.

That alone makes this a valuable document. Most of what's available about communes was either produced by Baby Boomers on a nostalgia (or vengeance) kick, or by academics who take a cool, remote stance. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get real authority on the subject, both factual and emotional, from filmmakers who are simultaneously insiders and outsiders.

I'm from that era -- not a Baby Boomer, but a member of the next generation (X). I knew both the Boomers in their still-hip phase, and the criticism of them from my parent's 50s generation and the culture at large. (A view I somewhat held myself, at the time.) I was a teenager during the heyday of the commune, and had school friends who lived in communal circumstances. Much of what I saw in this movie reminded me of what I experienced of their home lives, positive and negative.

Now that I'm old I've become an armchair scholar of the commune movement, inspired partly by those memories of my youth, and never pass up source material on it. American Commune is the best commune doc I've seen. Given its unique origins, it's unlikely to be excelled.


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