Commune (film)

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Commune FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Jonathan Berman
Produced by Jonathan Berman
Written by Jonathan Berman
Music by Elliott Sharp
Cinematography Jonathan Berman
Tamas Bojtor
Alan Deutsch
Rob VanAlkemade
Release date
  • June 26, 2005 (2005-06-26) (San Francisco Jewish Film Festival)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Commune is a 2005 documentary film by Jonathan Berman. The film is about an intentional community located in Siskiyou County, California called Black Bear Ranch and features narration by Peter Coyote who himself once resided at Black Bear.


Commune was well received with a score of 95% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes.[1] Metacritic lists Commune with a score of 74 out of 100.[2]

Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide pronounced it "A close examination of a quintessential '60s phenomenon that speaks volumes about the attitudes and experiences that shaped the decade...captivating.[3] Andrew O'Hehir of said "Amid the dozens of documentaries made about various aspects of '60s society and culture, "Commune" stands out for its ambiguity, honesty and sheer human extraordinary collage."[4]

A New York Times review, titled "Just a Hardy Bunch of Settlers Who Left America and Moved to California", described the commune veterans: "However weatherbeaten they appear, they still have a light in their eyes, and they exude the hardy spirit of pioneers who are older and wiser but unbowed," adding that they look back with "pride, amusement, and sadness."[5] A review in the New York Sun, provides more specifics on a fundraising technique one former member called "emotional blackmail," claiming that the $22,000 initial land purchase was acquired by pitching rock musicians that:

You're making money off our lifestyle. It's time you gave back some to us.[6]

The San Francisco Chronicle,[7] The Village Voice,[8] and Variety[9] all gave the film positive reviews.[10][11][12][13][14][15]


  1. ^ "Commune". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "Commune". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "Commune". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  4. ^ "Stories about Movies". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  5. ^ Just a Hardy Bunch of Settlers Who Left America and Moved to California, by Stephen Holden. New York Times, Nov. 3, 2006
  6. ^ "Trying To Remember the Family Band", by James Bowman, New York Sun, Nov. 3, 2006.
  7. ^ "Idyllic life, ideals / 'Commune' Documentary revels in glory days of Black Bear Ranch, which continues to be a haven". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "New York Movies - 'Commune' - page 1". Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  9. ^ Koehler, Robert (14 February 2005). "Review: 'Commune'". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "Commune". 2 November 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  11. ^ Ordona, Michael (10 November 2006). "The '60s ended for a reason". Retrieved 8 April 2017 – via LA Times. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Entertainment & the Arts - "Commune": A '60s utopia stands the test of time - Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  15. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew. "Beyond the Multiplex". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 

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