MUBI is a streaming service catering to cinephiles who believe in quality over quantity. Each day, MUBI adds a new film to its library, where it will stay for 30 days, after which it circulates out and gives room for another new entry. Throughout 2018, we will highlight one MUBI movie per month to help illustrate the catalog’s breadth and importance.
Some stories have foundations that are just too surreal to believe, and yet sometimes those are the stories that make for the best documentaries. This is the case with Fuck For Forest (now playing on MUBI), a vulgarly titled film that details the exploits of an NGO by the same name. What is the goal of such an organization, you might ask? Well, it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like: this group of young Europeans in Berlin raises money for natural conservation and protection by creating and selling amateur porn, starring themselves and volunteers they recruit from festivals and events. (Surprisingly enough, one in ten people the organization asks is willing to show their bodies for the cause.)
Despite that rather juicy hook, though, documentarian Michal Marczak is not so much interested in using his film to luridly exploit the sexual freedom of his subjects as he is in the culture these twenty-somethings have built around their mission statement of saving the rainforests of Brazil and Peru. These are people who purposely live in poverty to save as much money as they can for their cause, taking leftover food from dumpsters so that not even their own sustenance detracts from their goal. They live communally and love communally, not necessarily romantically involved with one another but intimate in ways that merge the familial with the sexual. They play music together and clothing is optional almost all the time, and everyone is singularly focused on using their pornographic talents to reach their goals.
If this all sounds a little too much like hippie-dippie bullshit, you aren't totally wrong. Marczak does not shy away from showing the naiveté inherent in some of the group's beliefs, and there's a distinct lack of foundational plan for Fuck For Forest's mission beyond "save the rainforest." This is a group founded on passion rather than strong organizational or goal-oriented management skills, and for all their talk about freeing the world's morals so that humanity may reclaim its place in the natural order, they don't actually seem to know what to do with their raised funds once they have them. This is demonstrated in a late-film scouting trip to Peru, where harsh reality comes crashing headlong into their idealism. (Hint: If you think it's a bit problematic for a bunch of Europeans to come into a South American country unsolicited with the idea that they're going to fix everything, you're on the right track.)
And yet, Marczak doesn't use this failing to entirely write off Fuck For Forest. If nothing else, Fuck For Forest is a celebration of community and the idea that love can save the world. Sure, love isn't the only thing necessary to save the world, but there's something heart-warming and sweet in the idea that these folks are trying, both with empathy and its outward sexual expression. There's something to learn in that, and maybe Fuck For Forest's weaknesses can serve as our strengths for having learned from their experiences. You can find out for yourself here!