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Camera 3 Downtown
Director: Thomas Vinterberg (Far From The Madding Crowd, The Hunt)
Cast: Fares Fares, Ulrich Thomsen, Trine Dyrholm, Julie Agnete Vang, Lars Ranthe, Helene Reingaard Neumann and Magnus Millang
Synopsis: Erik and Anna are a professional couple with a dream. Along with their daughter Freja, they set up a commune in Erik's huge villa in the upmarket district of Copenhagen. With the family in the center of the story, we are invited into the dream of a real commune; we participate in house meetings, dinners and parties. It is friendship, love and togetherness under one roof until an earth-shattering love affair puts the community and the commune to its greatest test/ "A intimate, absorbing and bittersweet dramedy."--Entertainment Weekly. Danish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 111 Minutes (plus 8-10 minutes of trailers)
Official Web Site:
MPAA Rating: NR
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Intimate and Bittersweet Drama
By Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
The curdling dream of free love and Me-Decade idealism is rich material for lauded Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s latest: an intimate, bittersweet study of communal living drenched in the unfiltered weed smoke and wide-wale corduroy of 1970s Copenhagen.
When architecture professor Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) inherits his father’s ramshackle mansion, he sees no reason to do anything other than flip it for a quick profit and move on. But his news-anchor wife Anna (Trine Dyrholm), restless and ready for a change, suggests that they and their teenage daughter Freja (Martha Sofie Wallstrom Hansen) move in instead; to offset the cost, they’ll invite friends and maybe even welcome a few strangers who pass the chemistry test.
The motley crew that eventually comes together share certain sensibilities—mostly involving casual nudity, cigarettes, and earnest, wine-fueled debates around the dining-room table—as well as a high tolerance for tolerance; their group bond is sealed with a frigid, giggling skinny dip. But Vinterberg, a founding member of the Dogme 95 collective and the force behind films both great (The Hunt, The Celebration) and good (Far From the Madding Crowd), isn’t just skimming ’70s clichés, even if his lens does skew sentimental (understandably; the story is inspired by his own childhood), and echo many of the themes in the similar, stronger 2000 Swedish drama Together.
For all its set-dressing of sexual awakenings and potluck dinner parties, The Commune is essentially a portrait of a marriage stretched to its breaking point; as Erik’s affair with a pretty, much-younger student (Helene Reingaard Neumann) moves to the center, the limits of the house’s breezy presumptions of freedom become clear, as does the reach of the collateral damage. (Men in general don’t come off well in Commune’s world; they’re mostly selfish, oblivious, or cruel. Its leading women, though, are gratifyingly layered). The movie may feel minor next to Vinterberg’s more serious work, but it’s more personal, too: A messy, tender window into the world that shaped him. B+
Copyright 2016 Entertainment Weekly
A couple start a commune in 1970s Denmark, but find their own marriage crumbling
By Tom HuddlestonAdapting his own highly regarded stage play, Thomas Vinterberg (‘Festen’ and ‘The Hunt’) raids his childhood for this soapy but emotionally rewarding story of communal living in 1970s Denmark. When Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) inherits his father’s sprawling mansion, he’s all set to sell up and pocket the profit. But his wife Anna (Trine Dyrholm) has other ideas, inviting their friends and strangers into their home as an experiment in collective living. Inevitably, the hippie dream remains just out of reach: arguments flare up, affairs are rife and nobody wants to do the dishes.
The title is just a tiny bit misleading: the commune is in fact little more than a colourful backdrop to what is a fairly straightforward marriage drama, as Erik and Anna discover just how different their needs really are. Thomsen and Dyrholm end up shouldering much of the movie, while initially promising side characters recede into the background. But they’re both up to the challenge, and their awkwardly evolving relationship makes for a deeply affecting emotional core. ‘The Commune’ may veer towards sentimentality in the final act – one heavily signposted tragedy ends up feeling cheap and manipulative – but overall this is a warm, sharply characterised and absorbing melodrama.