The trailer for Fuck for Forest, a documentary about a group of environmentalists from Berlin who descend in naked whirlwind of public sex in the Amazonian rainforest, has been making the Internet rounds for quite a while. Somehow, a documentary about dreadlocked white European twenty-somethings creating eco-porn as a way to raise money and awareness for the ever-diminishing rainforest seems less-than titillating, but, then again, at least they’re doing something, right? Maybe, but, according to a critic who’s seen the documentary, the Fuck for Forest project is either mired in cultural misunderstanding, or the movie itself is incapable of elucidating the group’s grand vision for rainforest conservation.

The Fuck for Forest project is pretty simple — an environmentalist group from Berlin uses public sex as a way to attract money and attention for rainforest conservation efforts. They’re creating “eco-porn,” and their motivations, according to Green Prophet critic James Murray-White, are “lofty.” Murray recently had some harsh words for the Fuck for Forest documentary (currently making the film festival rounds), which he initially approached with an open mind, cradling the vain hope that the FFF people knew what they were doing and weren’t just blindly stabbing their genitals at one another in the dark:

I had heard of ‘Fuck For Forest’ a while back, and enjoyed their website, which has plenty of free images, perhaps defeating the point – although images of human beauty draped in foliage and enjoying their naked bodies in natural spaces is a great thing.

I certainly support that message and hope that their work, with its stated noble aims, might go some way to promote healthy nudity and sexuality in a shaming society.

Sadly, Murray-White’s FFF disillusionment was swift and near-total. After seeing the film, he decided that there could be only one of two explanations for how miserable a failure the documentary turned out to be: either filmmaker Michal Marczak whiffed on some really compelling material, or the FFF activists are just as maddeningly naïve and impractical as the most cynical observers might initially suppose. Murray-White explains that the documentary’s troubles probably owe themselves to the greater difficulty of trying to make a non-exploitative movie about sex:

It is clear that ‘FFF’’s philosophy is well intentioned but not so well thought through.

Standing round, smiling either inanely or looking either hostile or vacant, the film does include sex scenes, including a public copulation, where the male, Tommy Hol Ellingsen, smears his sperm mingled with his partners menstrual blood over his face, and declares it “organic”.

It is a rare documentary that leaves the viewer wondering is it the style or the subject that is discordant and under-developed? A few hours after viewing I realise it is actually both. It is a tough proposition to make a documentary about sexuality, without being either gratuitous or academically distant.

The film culminates in a cringe-inducing moment of cross-cultural exchange, when the sex-weary Europeans attempt to donate the huge sums of money they’ve raised to indigenous groups in the Amazon region. The locals, however, balk at taking money from the FFF Europeans, and instead ask about specific plans for conservation, such as job creation. The environmentalists have no answers, which leaves their vision, writes Murray-White, “in tatters.” Bummer.

Fuck for Forest Film Not a Convincing Eco-Porn Messenger [Green Prophet via The Dish]