Gillian Schutte
Gillian Schutte

‘F*ck for Forest’ – a film review

This documentary introduces us to a whimsical, restless and sensitive Norwegian youth, 23-year-old Danny. He is a former Olympian equestrian star who dresses in discarded thespian clothing with felt hats, feathers and velvet cloaks over T-shirts, jeans and tackies. He speaks in poetic and quirky phrases peppered with eccentric humour. Danny is in angstful conflict with the mainstream constraints of his privileged family and breaks away to live with three grunge-hippies in Berlin.

This group consists of 32-year-old Tommy, a native of Oslo, and two German women, the 28-year-old Leona and the 22-year-old Natty. They take on the look and feel of a contemporary cast of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Wendy and Tinker Bell as they waft around half naked or dressed in haphazard theatrical constructions, roller skate to scavenge for food in dustbins and sometimes get involved in group massage and petting, or public fucking — all for their cause, which is to save the planet’s natural resources through fucking.

Here Danny joins their eco-porn quest to raise money for indigenous people’s fast disappearing natural habitats around the globe via their non-profit organisation Fuck for Forest (FFF). The idea of FFF is to use porn in an eco-friendly, sex-positive manner and raise money for the saving of nature while spreading the message of the virtues of reclaiming a non-repressed, shameless and natural sexuality. In their words on the Fuck for Forest site:

“Sex is often shown to attract us to buy all kind of bullshit products and ideas, so why not for a good cause? We think it is important to show a more liberal relationship to our bodies, as a contrast to the suppressed world we live in. In FFF we make photos and videos of ourselves or with friends, having sex or being naked. If you wish to get member access to watch us, you need to donate money for our ecological work, or join us as an erotic activist.

“Everything FFF makes is based on real, non-profit, erotic adventures — for pleasure, excitement, freedom and nature. Saving the planet IS sexy! Why not get horny for a good cause? It makes it easier for you and me to stay positive in an already too-suppressed world. Read our ‘War on error’ and ‘love manifest’ to know more about the FFF philosophy.”

fuckforforest.com

fuckforforest.com

In this documentary we watch this small tribe as they pose for nude photographs and take part in inelegant porn movies filmed with a single hand-held camera. There is something both compelling and cringe-worthy in taking porn out of its usual controlled domain and watching people having natural and non-choreographed, non-lit, non-filmic sex. This is voyeuristic, as if you are in the room with them. There is a profound absence of the distance between the viewer and the act of fucking that is evident in the plasticity of commercial porn production where tanned, waxed bodies “act out” sex. This is hairy, grungy orgasmic and desanitised — vaguely reminiscent of one’s own student sexual exploits.

The camera follows them in cinema verite style over a few weeks before they travel through Colombia and Peru to a forest where indigenous Peruvian people battle to eke out a living in a forest that is being usurped by plundering corporate concerns. When they reach the chosen community they assume a type of “ethnic” camaraderie and revel in a naïve culturally appropriated celebratory nakedness and free-love ethos — to the amusement of the fully-clothed indigenous family they are staying with.

But when it comes time for them to explain the ethos of FFF to the wider community and to offer them the sizeable portion of money they have raised for this community to buy their own forest and save it from corporate plunder, they are met with a very different response to the one they anticipated and their make-believe world comes tumbling down around them.

I am not going to give the entire story away but this film is worth the watch. It speaks of European youth trying to reconnect with a primal and pagan sexuality and becoming a small fringe tribe in a Calvinistic society. It challenges our views of sexuality and exposes our own deeply held sanitised Victorian attitudes towards the body. It also speaks of the naive and privileged assumptions Europeans make about what it means to be indigenous today and reveals just how embedded Christian values have become, even in communities that are far-flung and indigenous.

The film’s ending is akin to the memorable game-changing scene in The World According to Garp — when the main protagonist loses his member in a freak car accident while receiving a blow-job in the car. The sharp deflation and disappointment that this group experience in Peru is palpable and only one of them manages to survive this blow to their do-good ego. As for Danny, he travels back to Norway and the film concludes with him incorrigibly trying to convince a small group of Palestinians that free sex and nudism and eco-porn are plausible methods to fight against global warming.

The film is packed with quirky monologues, eccentric dialogues and peculiar scenes. There is the distinct mix of deconstructive folk-jazz-world-eclectic-atypical musicality in the direction, camera work and unfolding of the script.

Showing at the Grahamstown film festival in the Olive Schreiner Hall in the Monument.

Monday July 7: 5.45pm
Sunday July 13: 3.45pm

Production year: 2012
Runtime: 86 mins
Directors: Michal Marczak

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