Friday, May 19, 2006

JFF 2006: Fuck

First off, some notes on the lead-up to the film.

Considering the rise in price and the prospect of seeing less films this year, I decided not to get the 10-film pass again. For last night, I arrived at the theater 45 minutes beforehand, which was about right as I was standing in line for only five minutes before it steadily moved into the theater. A good seat was had (it can be argued, due to its layout, that there are no bad seats at the San Marco) and settled in.

Instead of the standard commercials or trailers or movie trivia, San Marco puts up some goofy crap on the screen (year round, not just for the JFF). Some of it's entertaining. Some of it less so. By the end of this cavalcade, there was a title card that read, "Lost and Found Video Night, Vol. 9". Here are some random highlights from it:
Grainy B&W footage of some band that can only be described as Ravi Shankar goes punk on Ed Sullivan.

A wooden robot playing a duet on a single drum with some guy facing opposite.

An NWA video accompanied by the audio of a Phoebe-esque folk singer singing the lyrics of "Straight outta Compton".

A puppet warbling about Jesus and sunbeams.

Hank Williams singing "Cold Cold Heart" (There's nothing odd or funny about this. Old School Country kicks ass! REPRESENT!).
Anyway, the film.

Fuck is a documentary concerning all cultural and historical aspects of the famed and shunned expletive. And though it may sound lean at only 93 minutes, this thing is thorough. Every conceivable angle on the word Fuck is explored through interviews with actors, directors, singers, rappers, politicians, activists, writers, journalists, comedians and, of course, a few porn stars. In fact, I'd have to say that the thing even drags a bit in those last fifteen minutes. I think, though, that this is more due to the editing than the interest of the material. My only other gripe with the film is that though there is a special section highlighting George Carlin's history with the word, it would have been so much better if they had an actual interview with him instead of just archived footage.

Much congratulations must be given to director Steve Anderson for being able to assemble such a diverse group of people to be interviewed. Not only do you get the people who will naturally fall into the liberal camp concerning the word (Bill Maher, Kevin Smith, and Ice-T, just to name a few), but he also manages to get some conservatives on board who must have thought twice before lending their time and efforts to this film. Some, such as Pat Boone, seem laughably out-of-touch and can't construct a sensible argument to save their lives. Others, such as Alan Keyes, make points that you can at least respect, if not agree with. And I must say I even agreed with the Conservatives on at least one point covered in the film: the fact that Dick Cheney using the F-word on the Senate floor is not necessarily a hypocritical action for a Conservative.

All in all, a damn good film and fun way to start the festival. Oh, and I do have one other observation to make which simultaneously makes use of the subject word in all it's glory:

Billy Connolly is a Laugh. Fucking. Riot.

No comments: