Sunday, April 24, 2011

Talking Tribeca: Turn Me On, Goddamit

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from the Tribeca Film Festival. In no particular order, I present a look at one film per day. The Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 20th through May 1st.

Turn Me On, Goddamit
Directed by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen
Festival Screenings

With a provocative title sure to offend many prospective viewers, it would be easy for a film like this to be a disappointment. Instead, it’s a magnificent surprise. Alma (Helene Bergsholm) is a teenager starved for sexual attention, and her obsession with her neighbor and classmate Artur (Matias Myren) turns her into a social pariah and outcast. Left to her own devices, Alma imagines scenarios where every experience she has turns sexual, and the film allows her mind to run wild as she dreams up new ideas. Reminiscent of another Norwegian film, “Reprise,” this movie features an exceptional method of storytelling where Alma narrates what happened or what could have been with frozen photographic images of the action serving as the illustrations of her stories. It makes for an absolutely captivating experience. This film also serves as a smart, honest portrayal of teen isolation. Every time Alma and her friend Sara (Malin Bjoerhovde) pass the road sign for their small town and raise their middle fingers at it in protest, it feels entirely real, and enables a pathway into their thoughts and minds. In keeping with that, the film also presents the limited view of the world that a teenager might have, as Sara expresses her life goal of going to Texas to protest capital punishment and humorously even writes to death row inmates about Alma’s relationship woes. This is exactly the kind of film that many will miss out on because they deem it too provocative to be worthwhile, and that’s an unfortunate mistake. There’s plenty of stunning and engaging cinema to be found here, and this is easily the most memorable and impressive film I’ve seen at this year’s festival.

See it or skip it? See it, please!

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