Visiting a sex shop with her friends, Alice decides to steal a strap-on and challenge her boyfriend’s thoughts about girls.
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Directed by Anette Sidor
“With its explicit title and an opening scene where three young girls steal a strap-on from a sex shop, within the opening two minutes of Anette Sidor’s F*ck You you may have already formed expectations on what’s to come in the rest of the film. Preconceptions are there to be broken however, and this is exactly what Sidor is looking to do, as she aims to challenge gender norms and inspire people to explore their own sexuality with her thought-provoking short.
After the aforementioned session of sex toy shoplifting, Alice and her group meet up with more friends, including boyfriend Johannes, and head to the skate park for beers, cigarettes and over-the-top shows of masculinity. As Alice becomes frustrated by the actions of the boys at the park – cleverly inserted lines like “you want the girls to play?” and “you shoot like a girl” provoking more frustration for our young protagonist – she dons her newly acquired rubber appendage and decides to have a little fun.
F*ck You is an easy film to sell online. A quick adjustment to the synopsis and the selection of a slightly different picture and I could exaggerate the film’s provocative nature, presenting it more as a film about sex, than gender norms. While that might have brought in the viewers, it would have been a huge disservice to Sidor’s short and ultimately, an audience would quickly see through the facade. At surface level, yes it is a film about a young girl using a sex toy to fight back and turn the tables, but it’s also so much more than that and the impact it carries and discussions it provokes elevates it to something much, much deeper.
“I make films to ask questions and to explore subjects that are sometimes complex because of different perspectives”, Sidor explains as we discuss her motivations. “When it comes to gender norms, we learn from an early age that love, attraction and sex are expected to be in a certain way depending on if we are girls or boys. Most of the time those expectations are unconsciously attributed to others and ourselves. With Fuck You I want to show that what we regard as femininity and masculinity do not necessarily belong to separate gender identities. Gender norms say, among other things, that girls are expected to be passive and boys to be active. I would like to question that.”
There’s a habit we have on S/W that when showcasing a film with a strong female perspective or made by a female director (F*ck You is both) the write-up is generally handled by one of the female writers on our team. Though this approach often yields the best results, it also feels somewhat problematic, as quite often they aren’t the ones who really need to broaden their perspective. For me (as the “old man” of the S/W team), F*ck You didn’t provide any sudden realisations or provoke any great self-reflection, but it’s a welcome reminder (especially as a parent) on the importance of equality and individuality. As Sidor explains: “The more people that understand the problems with gender norms the easier it will be to make changes in the society, and to see the positive effect on people’s lives”.
After an impressive festival run, which included stops at Locarno, TIFF, Sundance, SXSW, Encounters, Palm Springs Shortfest, Go Short and more, F*ck You was released online in late October 2020 as a Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere. With the filmmaker admitting that she wished the film industry would “stop reproducing the same stories over and over again”, she is now working on a new short, a TV series and a feature film – all of which will tackle “new stories and complex characters”. – S/W Curator Rob Munday
Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.