Review by Diana Leafe Christian
Editor, Communities Magazine
Excerpted from #115, Summer 02
I sat there smiling as I watched the first of Geoph Kozeny's two-part video documentary Visions of Utopia. There it was an overview of what I most want people to know about community living delivered in the comments and insights of dozens of community members at seven widely different communities.
The style is engaging and effortless. You see a community member commenting on his or her community, followed by various scenes of people working and interacting in the community that illustrate what the person is saying, with close-ups and panoramic shots, then back to the person, and so on, as first one community member, then another, comments on life in their community. You'll see communitarians gardening, cooking, sharing meals, meeting, working, playing, laughing, crying, and caring for children. They are all ages, from toddlers to white-haired elders, and range from obviously countercultural folks to those indistinguishable from anyone in the mainstream. It's as if you're meeting these people and paying their community a small visit.
At the first community profiled, Camphill Special School at Beaver Run, Pennsylvania, we meet people caring for and living in community with mentally and physically disabled children.
The profile of Twin Oaks, featured next, is the most comprehensive and balanced presentation of this well-known and long-lived community I've seen yet.
Geoph's choice of featured communities shows viewers there are many ways to express community which vary widely in size, location, purpose, and organizational principles. Besides a large rural spiritually based service-oriented community (Camphill Special School) and a large rural income-sharing egalitarian community (Twin Oaks), Visions of Utopia features a small urban collective household (Purple Rose), a rural retreat conference center community (Brietenbush Hot Springs), a large rural spiritual community (Ananda Village, California), a rural aspiring ecovillage (Earthaven), and large suburban cohousing community (Nyland Cohousing), which introduces viewers to the whole cohousing movement.
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Narrated by Geoph Kozeny. The actors are the community members themselves.