Sex sells, but what can it buy? That’s the intriguing question behind the fittingly explicit documentary “Fuck for Forest,” which portrays members of the eponymous, Berlin-based activist coterie that sells homemade pornography online in order to raise money to save the planet — or at least its rainforests. Polish director Michal Marczak has the good sense to let these colorful neo-hippies mainly speak for themselves, and strikes gold when an actual trip to Amazonia doesn’t quite yield the expected visions of ecological ecstasy. Dogwoof will release the pic in the U.K. in April; other liberal territories could follow.
The docu starts in Bergen, Norway, the hometown of 23-year-old former horse-riding champ Danny, who soon moves to Berlin as a new FFF recruit. One look at the site’s owners, caught naturally and spontaneously by Marczak (who does his own filming), and it’s clear each member is a grandchild of the hippie or hipster movement. Their interests include radically changing the world, using mind-expanding narcotics, and wearing oft-extravagant, secondhand attire (when they’re actually wearing something, that is). Their libidos are as unbridled as their hair is abundant, on their heads and elsewhere.
As the pic moves from Norway to the German capital, a fuller picture of the colorful clique and its m.o. emerges from well-edited footage that features practically no talking heads, but simply follows the FFF gang. Founders Tommy Hol Ellingsen and Leona Johansson are still going strong, starring in the website’s erotic-to-hardcore photos and videos and, like the handful of other members, recruiting random passersby for guest-starring roles. FFFers claim that 10% of the people they approach are interested in appearing in pornographic material for a good cause, and the business model has clearly paid off, with the website earning well into the six digits (according to one comment in the film).
What these self-proclaimed eco-sluts want to do with all that money is clear, and at the same time vague. The big idea is to protect the eponymous forests, but how exactly they can turn their cash into the desired ecological miracle is not entirely obvious.
The film’s second half follows the FFFers into the Amazon, where they visit indigenous peoples in Colombia and Peru and try to find out what they really need (this after a surreal Skype call in which a man offers them about 74 acres of tropical woodland for a million dollars, and FFF seriously considers the offer). Without spoiling anything, the locals’ needs turn out to be more complex than can be solved by several youngsters showing up with a big bag of money.
It’s in these scenes that scribe-helmer Marczak (“At the Edge of Russia”) manages to turn the pic into something more than just a portrait of a few idealistic nuts who hope to right all the world’s wrongs by simply giving in to the desires of the flesh; the eye-opening quality of the trip is what lends the docu its pleasing, scorpion-like sting in the tail.
Technically, “Forest” is in tune with the characters it portrays without sacrificing image or sound quality.