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Rooftop Films Review: Porn & Environmentalism Meet In Documentary ‘Fuck For Forest’

Rooftop Films Review: Porn & Environmentalism Meet In Documentary 'Fuck For Forest'

Leona and Tommy, a young Norwegian couple, were
upset by the amount of war and destruction of the earth they saw on the
news, so they decided to put their best talents to work in order to save
the environment. Embodying the motto, “do the best you can with what
you’ve got,” Leona and Tommy set about saving the world one naked photo
at a time, and Fuck For Forest, the NGO was born. Essentially a porn
website, the Fuck for Forest crew takes nude photos and videos of
themselves and others which air live behind a paywall (unless you’ve
participated in a photoshoot yourself). “Fuck For Forest,” the film,
directed by Michal Marczak, follows the activities of the core group, a
merry band of hippies living and loving in Berlin. The result is a
freewheeling, heady brew of a film, an intoxicating, surprising, but
ultimately revelatory work that may leave viewers at the end with a bit
of a hangover, after the party ends.

Our anchor throughout the
film is Danny, another young Norwegian. The film opens with Danny at
home in Norway, arguing with his sister and mother in their stark white
modernist home and donning his equestrian competition medals as jewelry.
He’s out of place and uncomfortable, and soon we are transported to
Berlin, where Danny perfectly fits in as the guitar strumming, gender
bending bard of the Fuck For Forest crew. He’s in a relationship with
Natty, but that doesn’t put any restraints on who he hits on (mostly
men) or has sex with. Tommy has a new girlfriend, a quiet girl from
India whom he met in Norway, and who has been disowned by her family
for her activities with him. They are all a bunch of wayward souls,
bonded together by their beliefs about saving the world one fuck at a
time.

The first half of the film follows them in Berlin, where
the artsy, hippie, avant garde community embraces them wholeheartedly.
They are never short of willing participants or audience members for their
sexual performances, and their work is well known and respected. They
live like street urchins, dumpster diving and selling hash for food
money, as all proceeds from the website go toward the environmental
cause. Eventually though, the rubber must meet the road, and this
happens when the group is contacted about an indigenous community in the
Amazon in need of financial support. So, Team FFF sets off to meet
their beneficiaries by plane, boat and canoe, deep in the rainforest.

This
is where the film truly becomes interesting, when cultures and
mentalities collide, come together, and clash. The villagers embrace the
group, despite their penchant for naked yoga and tiny top hats, and the
Fuck For Foresters are at first intimidated by but then taken with the
epic scale and challenging conditions of the environment. But at a
community meeting, it becomes abundantly clear that the Fuck For Forest
model, while inspiring in its idealism, might not be the best public
model for environmentalism. Many locals are put off by the method of
fundraising, but even more so, demand to know how the money will be used
to create opportunities and jobs, a next step that was not conceived of
when the project began.

As a film, “Fuck For Forest”
is a fascinating look into this world that seems to be a relic of a
bygone 1960s free love era. The subject matter itself is compelling,
though the structure often undermines the real storytelling potential of
the film. It often feels like the film puts the cart before the horse,
showing us certain characters or events and then explaining (in monotone
robotic voice over), sort of taking the power away from the images
since we don’t have the real context for it. It’s more of a a
fly-on-the-wall vantage point of this group of people, and ultimately it
does draw out both their virtues (idealism, desire to change the world
and save the environment in any way possible), and their flaws (failures of pragmatism, a tinge of predatory sexuality).
Danny, as the heart of the film, is the best point of view for the audience in his
unwavering dedication to his beliefs, though the film allows
the audience to understand him from an outside perspective that both
questions his actions and underscores his dedication. While at first
“Fuck For Forest” is a bit of a curio, a peek at this strange
subculture, we come away from the film better understanding their
motivations but also questioning them. That ambivalence is not
representative of what the group stands for, but ultimately, the film is brave to embrace it. [B]

“Fuck For Forest” screens this Friday, August 16th as part of the Rooftop Films Summer Series.

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