Film Review: ‘The Source Family’ Reveals a Communal Past

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CHICAGO – What did you do during the 1970s, Daddy? After this Father’s Day, many adult kids might be asking that question after seeing “The Source Family.” This documentary is about a commune that began in California (naturally) in the 1970s, even after the infamous Manson Family. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The documentary, produced by Isis Aquarian – a former member of the “family,” – explores chronologically the development of the commune, which includes its charismatic leader Father Yod (AKA Jim Baker). It’s fascinating because it is so separated from our post techno society. People were searching for a different way of life post the revolution of the 1960s, and a wealthy restauranteur with a strange past was able to convince a large number of men and women to come into his realm. As in many situations, it’s ‘coveting thy neighbor’s wife’ that exposes the flaw in the utopia, but it does conclude in a fairly astounding way. Although fairly standard as a non-fiction narrative, it will interest anyone wanting to know more about those psychedelic days.

In the mid-1960s, Jim Baker emerges from a middle aged cocoon as a wealthy restaurant owner to tune in, turn on and drop out. He meets a 19 year-old flower child, and eschews his capitalist life to indulge in the Swingin’ 1960s. This leads to one of the first natural health food eateries in California, called “The Source,” which becomes a centerpiece for a new commune that is developing from the workers at the restaurant.

In 1970, Jim Baker renames himself Father Yod, and combines yoga, eastern mysticism and a hippie ethos in forming a new extended family. The live in a closed and communal society, and there are written commandments that supposedly will create a utopia. A move to Hawaii and the dissolution of monogamy – Father Yod at one point collects 13 wives – creates a rift in the collective and forces an ultimate changing of the guard.

“The Source Family” continued its limited release in Chicago on June 14th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Written and directed by Maria Demopoulos and Jodie Willie. Not Rated.

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Source Family”

Jim Baker
The Eyes of Yod: Jim Baker AKA Father Yod in ‘The Source Family’
Photo credit: Drag City

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Source Family”

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