Navyo reviews Thomas Vinterberg’s film: “Refreshing and familiar, it asks us to look at where we compromise in our lives for the sake of security and society, cutting off the genuine joy and life-energy of who we really are.”
Set in 1970s Copenhagen, The Commune tells of Erik, an architect teacher and Anna, his TV-presenter wife, who open up their house—and their bed—in the spirit of freedom and togetherness. It’s an experiment of sorts and we take the journey with them and their teenage daughter, Freja, as they invite newcomers into their home and their lives. The joy, the challenges, the house meetings, the outbursts, the meltdowns, the healing—it’s all here and will resonate with anyone who has experienced commune life or even just shared a house with friends.
Even though they democratically vote people in as residents, knowing who is a good fit can only be experienced by living together. Power hierarchies are tested. Behaviors are tolerated until they become impossible. The family unit is questioned. Relationships are rewritten. It’s an attempt to break from the confines and security of social norms and find an alternative.
This non-traditional living arrangement slowly creates havoc as Erik and Anna try to uphold their working lives at school and on television. It’s a lesson in being able to deal with feelings before they get out of control.
But Anna’s courage weathers the storms of jealousy and honors Erik’s personal freedoms while she stays open and connected to him—and his lover half her age. Like everyone in the house, they have to confront the things they take for granted—a reminder to us all.
The film is refreshing and familiar and asks us to look at where we compromise in our lives for the sake of security and society, cutting off the genuine joy and life-energy of who we really are.
Veteran Danish actors Ulrich Thomsen and Trina Dyrholm take the lead roles and, along with the rest of the cast, create a powerful ensemble performance.
Director Thomas Vinterberg co-founded the Dogma film movement with fellow Danish director, Lars von Trier. His first film was the excellent and highly recommended Festen (The Celebration).
The Commune (Dir. Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark, 2016) – cover source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, en.wikipedia.org
Navyo is a regular contributor to this magazine
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