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REVIEWS Poland / Germany

F**k for Forest, but not in Amazon

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- Screened in TIFF's What’s Up, Docs? section, Michal Marczak's second feature film shows a clash of cultures and views of the world

F**k for Forest, but not in Amazon

Polish director Michal Marczak’s second film Fuck for Forest [+see also:
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does not reach the heights of his debut At the End of Russia, but definitely has an interesting subject matter that should attract the arthouse and festival audiences everywhere, especially considering the title. It screened at the Transylvania International Film Festival’s section What’s Up, Docs?

Fuck for Forest is a Berlin-based NGO consisting of five members in their twenties (two guys and three girls from different countries), with the idea to raise money for environmental issues by shooting and selling porn on their website. Marczak takes the first half of the film to introduce us to the characters and the way they think and function, which, as one of the guests and potential sex scene performers in their hippy-new age apartment remarks, remarkably like “an American trippy film from the 60s”.

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Indeed, the setting of this part of the film will be recognized by anybody who ever saw any of these films, or has spent more than a few days with Berlin’s extensive alternative-minded population. They are half-naked most of the time, the lights are dim and reddish, they wear quirky clothes and keep philosophising about the connection between nature and humans. This will obviously be attractive for some audiences, while others may easily get annoyed, depending on their view of the world.

But FfF have managed to gather a substantial amount of money and they connect with an activist in Colombia, so in the second half of the film they travel to the Amazon to present their ideas to the locals. This is where we see the clash of cultures and prejudices between the two sides of the world: while the Europeans find the Amazon people’s tradition of being mostly naked during their rituals as liberating, for the Indians the European penchant for erotics and voyeurism is deviant and sick. For them, the FfF’s views are incomprehensible, and they are naturally distrustful of Europeans’ admittedly naïve ideas about “saving nature”. This probably reeks of conquistadors to them - all they want are tools and means to work the land and keep their plants growing.

Although the subject matter sounds controversial, the film is nowhere near the uproar within documentary circles caused by the discovery that Marczak’s accomplished and acclaimed debut film At the End of Russia was in fact mostly staged. But documentary/fiction debate aside, Fuck for Forest still makes for an engaging viewing and provides an insight into the differences between cultures.

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