Copenhagen, 1975: Newscaster Anna (Trine Dyrholm) wants to shake up the conventional life she leads with her husband, university lecturer Erik (Ulrich Thomsen). She convinces him to start a commune in the colossal country house they have just inherited. Together with their 14-year-old daughter Freja they search for the right housemates, and they end up with a colourful mix of friends and strangers. The new group livens things up, and at first it seems that friendship and solidarity – all decisions are reached democratically – have come together harmoniously under one roof.
When it gets out that Erik is having an affair with Emma, his student, the commune is really put to the test. After a forced proposal to which everyone agrees, Anna finds herself in a personal crisis. Through the eyes of Freja, their daughter, we see how the adults run aground on their ideals.
The 70s are generally romanticised as the age of hippie culture and free sex that came out of the social changes of the 60s. Danish director Vinterberg, who had his breakthrough with the challenging family drama ‘Festen’, offers in Kollektivet a surprisingly warm and benevolent view of the 70s commune life in which he was also raised. At the same time he debunks the myth of the commune as a social paradise. Brilliantly, he shows us the drama through the eyes of the women. Dyrholm is truly splendid as Anna, the one who unravels the most when communal life eventually takes its toll. She received the Award for Best Actress at Berlinale Film Festival 2016.