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The Commune (Kollektivet, Die Kommune)
by Shelly Schoeneshoefer

Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark

The word “commune” actually dates back to the  12th century and is an economically based idea of sharing property work, and  income, and, although communes still exist today in some form, they are  certainly not the commune of the ‘60s and the ‘70s that Director Thomas  Vinterberg wanted to pay tribute in his latest film. He grew up in a commune  and wanted to remember a time where people shared. “It is a time that is over,”  he said at the Berlinale press conference, “I miss it.” Erik (Ulrich Thomsen)  inherits a house which he can’t manage financially alone. His wife, Anna (Trine  Dyrholm), finds the traditional family life uninspiring and devises a plan that  will enrich their lives and at the same time will share the economic  responsibility. After interviewing several people, they become a group of seven  adults, one teenager and one child and try to divide the work, rooms and have a  set of rules that will be reasonable. Anna is a strong woman who seems to  manage a lot of responsibility. She works for television and seems to be social  and economically successful but when Erik, a university professor, falls in  love with one of his students, her world slowly starts to fall apart. The film  captures that nostalgic feeling of the seventies with appropriate costumes and  music. Vinterberg said that, as a child, growing up in a commune was difficult  since the adults were free to have open relationships and test things out. They  spoke to the children as though they were adults and put a lot of  responsibility on them which was very difficult for the kids to handle. The  film opens our eyes to how we could learn to share and how we could deal with  other people in our community especially at a time where so many refugees are  coming in and need tolerance and teachings which will help them integrate into  our societies. Due to her outstanding performance, Trine Dyrholm received the  Silver Bear for best actress for her role as Anna in this film.