Raise your hands, those who have not uttered "Fuck" before. You perhaps stand amongst the hypocritical few. Probably considered the most vulgar and offensive word in the English language, it is undoubted, as some of the talking heads in this documentary state, that its effect and meaning ever gets lost in translation, especially when coupled with the right tone, and the universal middle finger hand signal.
Playing to a full house (and will be in two screenings during SIFF), Fuck the documentary is quite a mixed bag. It tried to cover everything there is to the word, and does so with more than 800 utterances in its various forms, from nouns to adjectives, detailing examples along the way, to much hilarity when coupled with the renowned illustrator Bill Plympton's cartoons. Those bits are the best parts, with Plympton's cheeky take on the word play in its creative intertitles used to introduce the various segments of focus.
From literature to music to religion, Fuck examines how the word crept into social consciousness, acceptance-objection, reflecting on the changing social norms when some use it freely, while others frown and throw a fit when they hear it. It also tried to uncover the origins of Fuck, and no, it's not an acronym and never was, although this is a widely held misconception.
With plenty of celebrities and recognizable faces providing interview segments, Fuck seemed lacking in a very strong direction when it seemed to want to split all over the place. With comedians, filmmakers, authors, musicians and the likes putting their point across, sometimes the editing make it seem quite contrived especially when two opposing views come to a clash, and no prizes for guessing which side is made to look stupid.
And what's a documentary like Fuck worth, if it doesn't take a prolonged jab at the authorities and morality groups? But in the end, while it wraps up quite neatly almost everything there is to do about the word Fuck and its usage in contemporary daily lives, you come to wonder just what the fuss is all about. Fuck!
P.S. stay tuned until the end of the credits for a very short Plympton toon!
P.P.S. I recall an anecdote that took place some 12 years ago. Upon enlistment in NS, one of the first few questions asked by my BMT platoon sergeant on the very first day was "How many of you Air Levels (term used for those smart alecky A Level graduates like my batch) cannot stand vulgarities?", to which some idiots actually raised their hands.
The reply by my sergeant? An emphatic "FUUUUUCK YOU!" which I swore lasted a good 5 seconds at least.
The reaction? One of stunned silence naturally, and a to-the-point introduction to the army - a whole new ballgame altogether! :-)