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"Turn Me On, Dammit!" is a small Norwegian film about a small-town Norwegian 15-year-old with a small, if universal, problem: She's super horny. All the time.
Alma (Helene Bergsholm) does what many folks do when overtaken by such feelings at such moments when there are no other options. She does this activity while lying on the kitchen floor, listening to phone sex, at least until Mom gets back from her job at the turnip factory.
Lying in bed at night, Alma fantasizes about Artur (Matias Myren), a tall, inexpressive boy who lives down the road. At a party, he exposes himself to her, poking her with the relevant body part. She tells her friends. They repeat this revelation, disbelieve it and disparage her. Artur denies it, the jerk. So goes Alma's story, a coming-of-age tale that's actually less concerned with any carnal loss of innocence - intercourse simply isn't the point - than her ostracism at school and the slower, stranger loss of her social bearings.
Written and directed by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen from a novel by Olaug Nilssen, "Turn Me On, Dammit!" clocks in at 73 minutes, many of them devoted to graphic sexual daydreams starring approximately every other person Alma meets. The film's editing and pacing
are appealingly straightforward, not to say blunt, and the humor runs from dry to bone-dry to parched. The most effective - and lyrical - touch is the use of black-and-white stills to illustrate a few of Alma's bleaker daydreams.
Repeated visual motifs play up the crushing sameness of rural life for resident teens, and Malin Bjørhovde, as Alma's best friend, has the morose stare and deadpan phrasings of glum goth dreamers across the globe - at least the ones in high-school comedies. She's a well-established movie meme; so is her sister (Beate Støfring), a coldhearted thing who swipes on the lip gloss before heading to battle.
Teenage boys aren't alone in exploring their confused and unruly libidos. Girls go there, too. And when they do, it's no small thing.— A. Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle
Tue & Wed September 18 & 19, 2012, 7:00 & 9:00, Muenzinger Auditorium
Norway, 2011, in Norwegian, Color, 76 min, 1.78:1 • official site