The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

A sweet and joyful Norwegian take on young sexuality

with 22 comments

15 year old girls are sexual creatures, but we don’t see much of that in movies. Or to put be more precise: we don’t see it a lot in the kind of movies I watch. I suppose there’s a niche market with an abundance of porn films about horny supposedly 15 year old girls. But in ordinary cinemas, they’re quite rare.

Whenever we get to see 15 year olds taking part in or thinking about sex, it’s often not so much about their own pleasure, their own initiative, exploring a territory on their own conditions. They’re generally hooking up with older men, becoming objects for their desire and victims for abuse. More often than not, they end up “learning a lesson”.

Not a victim
Turn Me On, Dammit! from Norway brings a different angle to this issue, a tone and an approach which I can’t recollect seeing since Lukas Moodysson’s Fucking Åmål (Show me love) from 1998.

In this movie we meet Alma, who is far from a helpless victim, at least not as long as it comes to sex, which she craves and fantasizes about constantly. She’s horny and she masturbates, anywhere, anytime, sometimes with the help of a sex phone line. Her mother, while not being truly bigot, reacts like I think most of us would, with a bit of embarrassment and awkwardness. While we all want to be supportive and understanding to whatever our teenagers are going through, there are things that you probably don’t want to know, including listening to their loud noises as they’re climaxing while masturbating. It’s too much information and Alma’s mother doesn’t know what to do with it.

And “too much information” is something that eventually brings Alma into trouble. While she has a healthy view on her own sexuality, she lacks a bit of judgment when it comes to social codes. After an incident at a party, where the object for her desire touches her with his dick, she tells her friends about it, and it doesn’t take long before the rumor starts spreading and she becomes a “persona non grata” in the small rural village where she lives.

Easy to relate to
Recently I watched Easy A, which also has a plot with a teenage girls surrounded by sex rumors. What makes this movie different, apart from the fact that Alma actually wants to have sex and not just goes around pretending she’s had it, is the lack of lip gloss.

The people in Turn Me On, Dammit! look like people I meet in the streets, not like photo models. The bus stop where they girls share a beer and their boredom looks like bus stops where I’ve been waiting when I was a teenager, the times I didn’t hitchhike. While I’ve never had the cravings of Alma, it was easy to like her and to relate to her. It could of course just be a cultural thing; it’s nice to once in a while see something from your own part of the world.

If there’s something more I could wish for in this film, it would be better acting performances. There were moments when I cringed a bit at the way the young amateur actors delivered their lines with little more empathy than if they were reading their homework aloud. It reminded me of a school theatre setup. In the beginning this bothered me a little, but as the movie went on I got used to it and cared less and less, the more I got engaged in Alma’s issues. And if nothing else, I had to capitulate for the humor, joy, sweetness and optimism it eventually conveys.

If you’re not completely against the idea of watching 15 year old girls masturbating on screen, it’s a movie I wholeheartedly can recommend, provided you can get hold of it. Considering the content I’m not too optimistic about it getting a wide release outside of Scandinavia.

Turn Me On, Dammit! (Få meg på, for faen, Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, NO, 2011) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

December 28, 2011 at 1:00 am

Posted in Turn me on dammit

22 Responses

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  1. Excellent post Jessica. I saw this a few weeks ago and quite enjoyed it as well. I loved the refreshing point of view, and just how honest and genuine the subject was handled. Well that’s how it appeared anyways, I have no idea if people really act and relate like that in Norway.

    Bonjour Tristesse

    December 28, 2011 at 1:36 am

    • Thanks! Well, there is something a little bit fairy-talish over it. I’m not sure if that’s exactly how things would end up in reality. Especially not the ending. Still it’s easier to relate to for me than many American movies.

      Jessica

      December 28, 2011 at 7:54 am

  2. I hope this finds its way over to the US. We need more sex-positive films about/for teen girls. And the comparison to Fucking Åmål (look at me typing it up correctly) just makes me that much more eager as that is one of my favorite films of all time.

    Bondo

    December 28, 2011 at 2:30 am

    • I don’t think it’s on par with Fucking Åmål in awesomeness, but I still think you’ll enjoy it. I hope it will find a boat.

      Jessica

      December 28, 2011 at 7:54 am

  3. Looks interesting, but, here in the States, it seems to be a film festival only type movie. Won’t be seeing it around here any time soon. Hopefully the DvD won’t take too long to come out.

    Kierbuu

    December 28, 2011 at 2:49 am

    • I hope so too. I really can’t see it launched widely. It would be too controversial I think. But maybe I’m just prejudiced?

      Jessica

      December 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

  4. Thank you so much for recommending this film. It seems to be extremely intriguing, especially because I am that age and I feel that most of the films about my age group are more or less pretentious and unrealistic.

    mettemk

    December 28, 2011 at 5:43 am

    • I hope you’ll find a way to see it. Actually I think it would be an excellent movie to show at schools. It could spark some very good discussions.

      Jessica

      December 28, 2011 at 7:57 am

  5. Hi Jess!

    I am back from my break, Happy New Year!! Normal commenting will resume.

    I don’t want to start thinking about my girls and sex.

    Scott Lawlor

    December 28, 2011 at 10:56 am

    • Hey there, thank’s for stopping by on your daily round! And Happy New Year to you too!

      No, I think there are areas in life where you’d rather keep a little bit of a distance to your children. Which is not the same as making them feel guilty or ashamed or anything like that. It’s a balance you need to find.

      I honestly would be pretty much at a loss if my girls would start ringing sex lines. Her mother takes it pretty well I think though, getting the daughter a job so she can pay for those calls.

      Jessica

      December 28, 2011 at 11:14 am

  6. I wanted to see both of the films you mention in this editorial because I think they’d be interesting. Being part of the other side of the sex world, obviously I never experienced what it would be like for a young woman.

    I think I’ve seen some releases of it around so I’ll try to watch it and report back here. Thanks for the interesting write-up Jessica.

    Max

    December 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    • It’s great to hear that you think you can get hold of it. I look forward to hear what you’ll think of it. Is it too typical Scandinavian or is it something that an international audience can embrace too?

      Jessica

      December 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm

  7. Yes. Yes!!! YES!!!!! Thank you for seeing and reviewing this film! I caught it at the Chicago Film Festival back in October and cherished it. Such a genuine, thoughtful take on what is so typically a subject wrought with stupidity and obviousness. It will be in my Top 10 for 2011. A truly great film from my perspective.

    And it’s scheduled to get a release in the United States in March. No doubt it will be an extremely limited release, but still……it’s something.

    Nick

    December 28, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    • Wow! Another one who’s watched it! That’s a lot more than I had expected. I’m so glad to hear how much you loved it, and especially glad to learn that it will get a US release after all. That’s great!

      Cheers!

      Jessica

      December 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm

  8. Thanks for this post. I’ve put the movie on my must-see list…and it sounds like a great example of a movie that would absolutely SHRED the Bechdel test. 🙂

    Sean Hood

    December 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    • Oh, it totally would! To be honest the boys in this movie are very much secondary people. I’m not sure if it would pass a reversed Bechdel test. But there hardly ARE any guys. They’re mostly objects so to say.

      And I just learned from the comment above it looks like if it will turn up in the US after all. 🙂

      Jessica

      December 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm

  9. This movie should get as wide a distribution as possible. The world needs to know that teenage girls mastrubates just as much as teenage boys. Judging by movies one might believe the ratio was something like 10-90 😉

    Sofia

    December 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    • Yes…and the world needs to see that it is nothing to be ashamed of, or for adults to be shocked or embarrassed about.

      Sean Hood

      December 30, 2011 at 10:44 pm

  10. We need more films about sexuality; not just films about sexuality, but good films about realistic sexuality. I recently saw a film called 9 SONGS by Michael Winterbottom, and I hated it. It was an attempt to capture the nature of a highly sexual relationship, but to me it failed miserably. However, Winterbottom has made good films about sex, such as Butterfly Kiss, which I recommend.

    As for this film, which of course I haven’t seen. If it makes it here via some sort of indie DVD distribution (which is how most little-known foreign films make it to New Zealand), I shall definitely see it.

    Tyler

    January 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    • Actually I’m generally not particularly interested in watching movies that are primarily about sex. But this one caught me by its charm. And it wasn’t really so much about the sex thing as about being young and a bit odd in a small village. Which is a pretty universal theme. I hope you’ll get a way to see it!

      Jessica

      January 2, 2012 at 11:01 pm

  11. […] Turn Me On, Dammit – A Sweet and joyful Norwegian take on young sexuality […]

  12. […] the place to go if you wanted to see horny 15 year olds was a lie? Considering the popularity of my post about the Norwegian movie Turn me on dammit, I’m pretty certain that a lot of visitors weren’t […]


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