The new film from Danish auteur Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt, The Celebration) focuses on a middle-aged professional couple in 1970s Denmark who decide to experiment with communal living by inviting a group of friends and random eccentrics to cohabit with them in a sprawling house.
The new film by lauded Danish director Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration, The Hunt) examines the fallout from the social upheavals of the 1970s through the microcosm of a Copenhagen commune.
Anna (Trine Dyrholm, who won Best Actress at this year's Berlinale for her performance) is a television newswoman; her husband, Erik (Ulrich Thomsen), teaches architecture at a university, but the grim reality of mentoring people whose career prospects are brighter than his own has left him disgruntled and bored.
When Erik's father passes away, the couple must decide what to do with the huge house that Erik grew up in, as it's too expensive for them to occupy on their own. Erik prefers selling, but Anna — who has become frustrated with Erik's dour outlook and longs for something new — suggests that they use this opportunity to experiment with communal living (which was all the rage in Scandinavia at the time).
Energized by the era's relaxed taboos, Anna and Erik assemble a diverse, rather motley crew of cohabitants and embark on their adventure, but soon take very different paths. While Anna is anxious to stay home and experience life with her new extended family, Erik finds a more traditional way of reinvigorating himself: an affair with one of his students. When Anna tries to reconcile these two situations, the commune — and the marriage at its core — begins to unravel.
Driven by brilliant lead performances from Vinterberg's Celebration stars Thomsen and Dyrholm and supporting turns from Lars Ranthe and Fares Fares, The Commune is a sharply observed study of how new values can quickly come into conflict with old habits and affiliations.