Thomas Vinterberg latest cinema release The Commune (2016) is set in Copenhagen in the mid 1970’s where we discover that Erik, a teacher of ‘rational architect’, has inherited a large manor house that belonged to his father. Eric financial circumstances will not allow for its upkeep and he thinks its best if he sell’s the house, but his wife Anna, a popular TV newscaster and his teenage daughter Freja want to keep it. Anna convinces Eric to set up the huge property as a commune and share the upkeep between the occupants. Invitations are issued and interviews take place. At first it all works out very amicably with every one getting on well, taking part in the many kitchen table meetings, the dinners and the parties. That is until Eric falls for one of his female students and moves her into the commune. At first Anna accepts the fact that her husband no longer wishes to sleep with her but is happy for Emma to stay at the commune. But this utopia doesn’t continue and the repercussions from Eric’s actions affect everyone.
Based on a play called Kollektivet written by Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov, which was inspired by the directors own childhood experiences. It’s a ‘family’ drama with a difference, emotionally moving but at times very funny, the film has a star cast that portray exceptionally well this touching portrait of a generation of idealists who have never quite fulfilled their dreams.
|Emma gets to know Erik.|
The Danish director and Dogme 95 co-founder is best known for the brilliant Festen (1998) another family drama, this time involving a family gathering to celebrate their fathers 60th birthday during which long buried secrets resurface, and The Hunt (2012) which stars Mads Mikkelsen as a teacher whose accused of sexually abusing a young child in his care. Erik is played by Ulrich Thomsen, who has appeared in some remarkable World Cinema outings including Festen, Brodre (2004), the award winning In a Better World (2010) the German thriller The Silence (2010) and the Danish police procedural A Second Chance (2014). The Danish actress and singer Trine Dyrholm plays Anna who was also in Festen and In a Better World as well as the historical drama A Royal Affair (2012). It also features Vinterberg’s wife Helene Reingaard Neurmann as Emma, along with Lebanon born Fares Fares and Danish TV and film actor Lars Ranthe as members of the commune.