Commune 

Directed by Jonathan Berman

If you're a skeptic pessimist like me, it might be hard to stomach the utopian free love/free land/free people philosophy of the Black Bear Ranch, a still-functioning hippie commune deep in the wilderness of Siskiyou County, California, based as it is on the initial investments of rock and movie stars (the Doors, the Monkees, Antonioni) and often a haven for privileged outcasts and the stupidest bad trips of the 60s (e.g., a child-snatching cult). But in Commune director Jonathan Berman sells its persisting idea(l) through candid interviews with the
commune's intelligent, reflective charter members and grainy super 8 footage shot from 1968 and into the 1970s, when Black Bear was at its peak as a countercultural refuge. Letting the stories speak for themselves, Berman paints a complex portrait of the excitement and pitfalls of alternative living, finally imparting the realization that if Black Bear can survive the 21st Century, the spirit from which it was borne might very well, too.
Opens November 3

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