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American Commune

This story of the life and death of a Tennessee hippie commune is an absorbing lesson in failed idealism.

DIRECTED BY NADINE MUNDO AND RENA MUNDO CROSHERE (USA, World Showcase)
stars 3andahalf9


SCREENINGS:

Monday, April 29, 7 p.m.
The Royal Cinema (608 College Street)

Wednesday, May 1, 3:30 p.m.
ROM Theatre (100 Queens Park)

Friday, May 3, 5:30 p.m.
Hart House Theatre (7 Hart House Circle)


Who among us hasn’t thought, at one time or another, about leaving everything behind and living off the fat of the land? American Commune is a serious examination of the commune lifestyle, recently mined for laughs in the Jennifer Aniston comedy Wanderlust. Siblings Nadine Mundo and Rena Mundo Croshere are products of The Farm, a collection of leftover hippies that came together in the early ’70s. After purchasing a large plot of land in Tennessee, they farmed vegetables and educated their children free of any outside influence.

Through archival footage and emotional interviews with their parents—and even with each other—the filmmakers revisit their formative years with an equal amount of nostalgia and pain. While celebrating the spirit of camaraderie that permeated the movement, they also address the hypocrisy in the set of highly restrictive rules introduced by spiritual teacher and leader Stephen Gaskin. In outlining the FBI investigations and difficulties in maintaining living standards that accompanied The Farm’s slow slide into near-obscurity, Gaskin emerges as a tragic figure. A well-intentioned would-be revolutionary, he couldn’t quite change the world.


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Comments

  • Douglas

    The headline of this review promotes the drama, but not the reality of The Farm Community, still going strong after 40 years. Always recognized as a “School of Change,” the community’s ability to adapt and survive through Reganomics and the Bush Years, only to emerge as model ecovillage for the 21rst century, is a testament to the power of staying true to your ideals. Although elements of the communal lifestyle were left behind to foster greater freedom and self direction for The Farm’s members, the 1799 acre land trust remains as a monument to the strength of a collective vision.