Turn Me On, Dammit! (Er…gulp…yes ma’am!)
Turn Me On, Dammit!‘s female lead, 15-year-old Alma (played by Helene Bergsholm), is the only female phone sex customer I’ve ever beheld. Do they still have phone sex in Norway? The sex workers I’ve spoken with say it’s pretty much dead over here. Do females partake of the phone sex that they still have in Norway? Has this been kept out of the papers in the interest of national security?
Well, the important thing is that Alma lies on the floor, phone sex operator on speaker, oblivious to her mother (Henriette Steenstrup) approaching the home, doing what most 15-year-olds do and doing it with utter ferality. She has just enough exteroception to pull herself out of embarrassment; I suppose all healthy animals keep a part of themselves apart from themselves, instinct against predators, or, in this case, returning moms.
Over the course of the film’s modest running time, Alma will lose herself in her own fantasies repeatedly and in all weathers, toeing that boundary between the animal’s instinct for self-preservation and the human’s capacity for getting lost in the higher functions at the risk of tripping, falling, and breaking. But the biggest plot point turns on something Artur (Matias Myren) does to her when no one’s looking. It isn’t horrible, but it’s gross. And it’s so off-the-wall that even we have trouble figuring out if Alma made it up in her cauldron of a mind.
Turn Me On, Dammit! approaches teen sexuality with winning frankness, yes, of course, because Norway and indeed most of Europe have far fewer hang-ups about this sort of thing than we do. Sexual awakening simply is, but the power of that “simply is,” is its overwhelmingness. It feels dangerous because it is dangerous. Because each and every one of us has to absorb the animal power–the compulsion to rut–and emerge out the other side as a so-called rational, balanced human. Or skew(er) ourselves trying.
Turn Me On, Dammit! opens Friday, June 15, at the Varsity.