Sils Maria


Lots of TV this week that distracted from my moviegoing. But as I finished The Get-Down, The Knick, and got close to the conclusion of Outcast and The Night Of, I have to believe a bit of time will soon open-up for movies. Then again, maybe I’ll get freed up just in time for baseball playoffs and the start of the TV season. Maybe this is just my life. If so, there’s much worse things.


#52FilmsByWomen continued this week with TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! directed by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen.


A few weeks ago, I made mention of the fact that “Female Filmmaker” is not, of course, a genre. Thus, when it comes to standing back and looking at what I have watched over the last thirty-two weeks, there is no commonality to the films as a series besides the gender of the filmmaker. I could very easily have pulled together a similar watchlist if I’d chosen directors with single syllable surnames, who were left-handed, or graduated from NYU. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in this project and am truly happy that I took up the challenge…however, if I were to do it again, I’d angle for a little bit more curation.

For instance, if I were to try it again, I might gather together the action films of Kathryn Bigelow, Patti Jenkins, and Lexi Alexander and consider the links. Or I could watch BRIGHT STAR, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and ORLANDO and puzzle over the level of success in the adaptations.

To that end, TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! fits nicely into a genre within the series that I’m beginning to adore: sexual awakening films. Yes, I realize that sounds far filthier than I intend it to, but stay with me. When I look back on this series and gather together this movie, PALO ALTO, and THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, I get the teeniest, tiniest inkling of what goes through a girl’s head around the time she becomes sexually curious.

Teenagers trying to deal with their haywiring hormones has made for all kinds of interesting stories throughout the years…and I feel like we might be in for something of a boon of them in the year ahead as the amount of information and stimuli they have available to them explodes. However, I think it’s fair to say that what boys experience as they fumble their way through their first sexual experiences is vastly different than what girls experience. So to that end,the approach to telling these stories on film also varies depending on the genre of the storyteller.

For bonus points, two of the three films mentioned above employed female cinematographers…and as someone drawn in by the visual, I do believe there’s something to the female eye.

But where GODDAMMIT fascinates me is in the way the story teeter-totters between what Alma fantasizes about, and the reactions to those fantasies by the people in her life. If Alma lived in a bigger town, this story would be different. If Alms came of age fifteen years later or fifteen years earlier, this story would be different. And, of course, if Alma was a boy, this film would be different. However, every time a story like this is told, everyone else gets a glimmer into the mindset of a girl like Alma…the sort of girl that exists in all sorts of places big and small, all over the world.

The approach that female filmmakers take to these particular stories is vital, since they are so deeply intimate, potentially terrifying, and intensely personal. They need to come from a position of experience as often as possible since they might then become signposts for girls in the real world like Alma to follow as they try to make heads-or-tails of those early, intimidating years.

Guys can tell these stories (and have), but not nearly as well. The three that I’ve watched in the course of this project, and the many more I hope to find will stay with me as reminders of meagre glimmers of what goes on inside the minds and hearts of adolescent women. I just wish there were more of them.


Here’s the week at hand…

Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
THE LAST DETAIL – Nicholson wants to get Quaid drunk, stoned, and laid. What’s not to like?
THE MISSION – This feels very much like a relic of its era.
MAPS TO THE STARS – This might be one of the most nutters movies in Cronenberg’s filmography. Yes, I realize how absurd that sounds.
CONCUSSION – Sorry Jada – Will’s lack of an Oscar nomination for this movie is NOT emblematic of racism.
TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! – I need to find more movies by this woman, soon.

Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011) – Better than the original?
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION – I continue to hold out hope that Rebecca Ferguson will turn up in the MCU as a heroine sometime soon.
FIVE EASY PIECES – Who wants to fix me a chicken salad sandwich?


Boxscore for The Year
152 First-Timers, 98 Re-Watched
47 Screenings
250 Movies in Total

How’s about you – seen anything good?