Published May 17, 2012Two minutes into Turn Me On, Goddammit!, you already know what the film is going to be about: empty road. Then there's more empty road, empty road with a tractor, mailboxes, a house with satellite dish and a youth centre backyard. There's stupid sheep, stupid hay bales and stupid trampoline girls. And a 15-year-old Norwegian blonde masturbating in the kitchen of her mother's house. In short, the Norwegian town of Skoddeheimen.
Turn Me On, Goddammit! is the first feature-length fiction film from Norwegian director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, and it has already garnered her acclaim from juries at the Rome and Tribeca International Film Festivals, winning Best Screenplay at Tribeca. Turn Me On is an art film; it was done on a (roughly) three million dollar budget and includes no special effects or outstanding innovations. Instead, the focus is on characters and how they live up to expectations and societal norms.
Alma (Helene Bergsholm) is a 15-year-old high school student who lives in the small town of Skoddeheimen. She and her best friend, Saralou (Malin Bjørhovde), hate it. They envy Saralou's eldest sister, Maria, who goes to university in Oslo and hasn't settled for domesticated living. Saralou's other sister, Ingrid, however, loves Skoddeheimen and loves even more the responsibility of upholding strict social standings at their high school. When Ingrid hears from Alma that their common crush, Artur, has whipped his penis out for Alma, she starts a nasty rumour that Alma is a sex-crazed pervert who is more or less mentally unstable. And, the funny part is, Ingrid is right: Alma is indeed horny; she's a teenager.
Turn Me On, Goddammit! depicts a very contradictory country. On one hand, director Jacobsen portrays the natural beauty of both the countryside and the human beings who dwell there. If Skoddeheimen is the Garden of Eden, then Alma is no doubt Eve. But Jacobsen also depicts these ugly keepers of Skoddeheimen's repressed social order. Like Alma's mother, a hypocrite who hangs her daughter out to dry for drinking and masturbating.
If Alma's mother only knew about her daughter's hash cigarettes, Turn Me On, Goddammit! wouldn't have ended so damn cute. (Mongrel Media)