Four simple letters.
It’s what projectionist Liz Hirschmann said drew the largest crowd she’s ever seen in Davies Theatre Friday night.
Forty-five people gathered to watch “F*ck,” a provocative documentary examining all sides of the infamous word, with interviews from comedians, porn stars, rappers, politicians and more.
And some of its insights got a lot of laughter:
“It’s actually an acronym for Fornicate Under Command of the King.
“If someone steps on your foot, and they weigh like 350 pounds and broke your toe that would be when you use the F-word.
“I feel better after I say it. I say ‘Fuck!’ I feel better after that.”
Through interviews, film and television clips, music and original animation, this 90-minute, unrated film examines how the word impacts today’s society, while scholars and linguists examine the history of the word and the constitutional right to free speech.
Because the film is unrated, the campus didn’t have to card people to get in, Hirschmann said, something the University Activities Commission and the International Film Society intentionally chose to do.
“The word ‘fuck’ is in the title of the movie,” she said, adding she thinks there was a lot more shock about “Shortbus” because theoretically people might not have known what they were getting into. “The people who are going to be offended by this movie aren’t going to see it and are . just going to walk away.”
UAC advisor Jim Brockpahler said he hasn’t heard any negative remarks about the campus’ screening.
“(UAC and IFS) thought it looked like a fairly entertaining documentary of sorts just from the history of a word,” he said.
Non-traditional freshman Jessie Otradovec said she’s glad she went Friday.
“I was proud of Eau Claire for even showing that on campus,” she said. “It is a factual documentary that has cultural implications and if people don’t want to see it, they have a choice not to.”
Sophomore Jessica George said she saw the posters advertising the film hanging around campus and wanted to hear all the different arguments about the word.
She said she was most interested in the analysis of how children learn bad words.
“If you tell them ‘Oh, you can’t say that . they’ll say it a billion times,’ ” George said.
Hirschmann said the point that most interested her didn’t even have to do with the F-word, but rather comedian Drew Carey’s comment about when a documentary analyzing the C-word will come out.
“That’s a completely different can of worms. After all the hullabaloo about ‘fuck’, are people going to start saying that word?” she said. “Language is about what we say and what we inhibit ourselves from saying, and that says something about us.”
In the final scene the word, with a red, white and blue star for the ‘u,’ is displayed in the center of the screen. Patriotic music filled the theatre and every imaginable form of the word flickered.
The film states that “low life is now norm life,” and as the theatre emptied, the audience was left with one question: Is the word indecent or not?