Hot Docs 2013: Fuck For Forest Review (Paolo Kagaoan)

Fuck For Forest

Directed by Michal Marczak


Other than being in Hot Docs, Michal Marczak’s Fuck For Forest has another Canadian connection. A Canadian woman working in Dusseldorf who agrees to be recorded while performing sexual acts with one of FFF’s members (Recording sex is one of the things that FFF does). She cites her reason as “We’re fucked anyway,” which is a tolerable response to the world’s environmental state.

Programmer Eli Horwatt introduced the documentary as, among many things, a satire. That description helped soften the blow that the doc and its subjects give its audience. These are the kind of overgrown prodigal European children who dumpster dive their way into a new wardrobe. It’s hard not to facepalm yourself watching these hipsters do things like sing off-key about ‘Indians.’ I’d project and say that there’s something enviable about being so left-field but the obtuse aspects of their ethics make most people shake their heads.

On more serious notes, it’s equally difficult to watch a subculture depicted as ridiculously as this one. I feel uneasy while the group touch or cat call strangers, or kidnap a woman named Kajaal and let her be disowned by her family. The ethics of a doc becomes slippery when it’s depicting amorality. It’s also hard to watch while having the sense that the documentarians are coldly not helping their subjects because they’re loyal to the stereotypical rule that they shouldn’t break the fourth wall.

But I’ll try to keep an open mind. Besides, I don’t get that sense of distant mockery here. The subculture/NGO believes that sex keeps us one with nature. Mostly coming from middle class families, they choose a life of frugality, earning money not just through their porn but through busking as well. This revenue surprisingly has given them six digit earnings that go to an account that they only touch when they’re doing their restoration work in the third world.

Something that happens early in the movie made me turn my head when, after the deep voice of the narrator talked about a subject’s mommy issues #908 or another’s mind-blowing decision #623, he actually talked about their need for love. This is why half of humanity joins a group – joining to feel that sense of belonging.

That head turn became a click when the narrator actually explains some of the subjects’ beliefs about nature. And it’s not just the documentarians interjecting on behalf of their subjects, because when these guys talk about how stupid it is to pick flowers, or how the plants feel, there’s sincerity in their tone. When both the filmmaker and its subject take away irony out of the equation, as they do here, it often succeeds in pulling the audience in. These subjects don’t have a sensible manifesto but the movie admits that some of their beliefs ring true.

So we’re happy when both filmmaker and subject collaborate to depict the most tender sexual scenes I’ve ever seen. Rejoice when they’re embarking on a trip to keep untouched forested lands in Colombia. Empathize when the Natives distrust them and when the latter realize that they are way in over their heads. As a decent movie does, it lets its subjects show their flaws but it doesn’t kick them when they’re down.

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Published by paolocase

I'm a little spongette of pop culture, mostly spending time and money in the movie theatre and TCM-like channels.

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