Tribeca: Teen horniness — in Norway!

"Turn Me On, Goddammit" offers a dry, appealing Nordic farce about a sex-obsessed small-town teenage girl

Topics: Tribeca Film Festival, Film Salon, Our Picks, Movies,

Tribeca: Teen horniness -- in Norway!A still from "Turn Me On, Goddammit"

A dry, sweet, dirty-minded tale set in a nowheresville Norwegian town, “Turn Me On, Goddammit” testifies to the continuing strength — not to mention strangeness — of Scandinavian cinema. Some American distributor will likely give this a whirl following its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, in hopes of an offbeat, “Let the Right One In”-scale hit. This yarn about an innocent-looking but desperately horny teenage girl might not have that much commercial upside, but its bittersweet, faintly depressed brand of Nordic humor is definitely enjoyable.

When we first meet Alma (Helene Bergsholm), an angelic blonde of 15 or 16, she’s sprawled out on the kitchen floor with her hand down her pants, eagerly responding to the instructions of a phone-sex interlocutor called Stig. Sadly, that’s as hot as things get for Alma in her sleepy fjord-side village (I’m not even going to try to spell it); she’s got Stig on the horn and she’s got elaborate nightly fantasies about Artur (Matias Myren), a sleepy-eyed local dreamboat who seems to like her, but not quite enough or not quite that way. If you’re about to sniff that you can’t imagine a teenage girl actually resorting to phone sex, that’s not the point; despite the veneer of downscale European realism in “Turn Me On, Goddammit,” writer-director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen is definitely leading us into the realm of farce.

You Might Also Like

Things don’t improve for Alma after Artur either does or does not reveal his glorious throbbing manhood to her in an intimate moment amid the ruined outdoor furniture behind the local youth center. Her friends don’t believe her, and Alma becomes a social pariah and the subject of bathroom graffiti. Given that she’s endlessly distracted by sexual fantasies anyway — involving her boss at the convenience store, her best friend’s bitchy sister and pretty much anyone and everyone else — Alma herself can’t be entirely sure what happened.

Shot in bleached-out picture-postcard colors with a few intriguing fillips — sequences told via black-and-white stills; semi-animated letters written to Texas death-row inmates (I really can’t explain it) — “Turn Me On” is fundamentally a wry, affectionate small-town movie, but one that sneaks up on a genuine feminist issue. Boys Alma’s age are expected to be sex-obsessed, but a girl who yearns for action is relentlessly stigmatized, even in the context of a supposedly nurturing and tolerant social democracy. Alma escapes (very briefly) to the bohemian freedom of the big city and scores a modest victory against repression and hypocrisy, but it’s one female libertines everywhere (and their companions) can embrace.

 

 

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>