Periodical Political Post *32

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Because some positivity can’t hurt these days, have (and click) this :)

Skam

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Skam: the real and risqué norwegian tv show causing teen hysteria. Skam is taking over teenagers’ lives – fans are adding their own subtitles, skipping school, and losing sleep over this Skins-like high school drama that subverts stereotypes

This past week, I received an email from a 24-year-old girl urging me to write about this Norwegian TV series, Skam. I was skeptical. Was this some grassroots PR at work? Was she somehow involved with the show? “No,” Hanne Selboe Karagülle assured me, “I am not involved in the series in any way, just a fan (like everyone else in Scandinavia it seems)!”

Later, I would discover that fans, people like Karagülle, were on a tireless crusade to make this racy teen drama more popular. They’re hard at work tweeting at celebrities and launching petitions for the network on which it aired, NRK, to add English subtitles for international fans. All fighting for a show that doesn’t really need the help. Despite being in Norwegian, it’s drawn viewers from countries around the world who have all pictured themselves locking lips with William, dishing spicy one-liners like Sana, or coming out to friends like Isak. (Warning: spoilers ahead.)

Karagülle told me it centred on high school students and their struggles, dreams, and rakish hookups in Oslo. Each season is told from the POV of one main character. It’s unique in that clips of the show are posted in real time online, as if its characters are real people. So, for example, if a party on the show is happening Saturday at 2am, that’s when the party clip is posted. On Fridays, all the clips published that week are assembled into one episode.

When the show isn’t on air, fans can interact with the characters via fake profiles on Instagram and Facebook. Text messages between characters are also posted online, prompting speculation throughout the week. It’s like you’re living with them, says 20-year-old Grazia Ames, a fan of the show. “I like some photos on Instagram because I like the fact that they make them seem just like another friend or real person out there.”

At the bottom of Karagülle’s email, there was a link to a teaser for season three. Harmless enough, I thought. Wrong. Shirtless teen boys in a locker room spray each other with water bottles. A milk carton narrowly misses one guy’s head, exploding into a milk shower, which soaks Isak’s face. It looked so much like gay porn. What the hell was this show? Some were calling it a less OTT, less pretentious version of UK drama Skins.

I decided to give Skam a shot. I was consumed, swallowed up in a vortex of startlingly normal teen drama. I binged two and a half seasons, containing 12 episodes each, in less than two days. I started telling friends about it, following the characters on social media and throwing favs at tweets from fan accounts. As I hooked up to the drip feed that was Skam,

I poked around online. I began to realise just what a phenomenon this show was becoming. The first season aired in September 2015, and at certain points during season two, Skam – which translates to “Shame” – was watched by some 1.3 million viewers. Norway’s population is 5 million people. Over one-fifth of the country was tuning in to watch. Skam came out of nowhere. Shielded from the press, the actors in the show did nothing to drum up publicity. Many of them still have day jobs. (The actress who plays Noora works as a telemarketer.) There were no advertisements for the show. The creators simply relied on social media to rocket launch this TV series to the masses.

Now, Skam is causing teen hysteria. Some kids are reportedly skipping school to watch the show. NRK has been bombarded by tweets from teens saying they can’t sleep because they’re aggressively refreshing the page, awaiting new clips or text messages.

Read on…

Periodical Political Post *28

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Periodical Political Post *26

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Utpressing for Nybegynnere

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema, Skin & Skylcad 22 Comments

Simen (Johan Tinus Lindgren) is strongly influenced by his feelings, and unable to get over the death of his mother four years ago. When one day he learns that his father Vidar (Kim Prisoner) will die of cancer unless he gets an operation abroad which costs $200,000, he becomes afraid of being orphaned.

utpressing01

How will he be able to raise so much money in a few days? After he witnesses a robbery by Ove (Erik Skold), he decides to try and blackmail him for the money he needs for his dad’s operation. Since Simen is an amateur at blackmailing people for money, he does everything wrong. Suddenly he finds himself bound in Ove’s car. Now it’s Ove’s turn to push Simen’s family for ransom.

Blog reader James submitted this rather weird piece of film history. It’s from a Norwegian film called Utpressing for nybegynnere. It looks a bit trashy (IMDb rating of 3.9 and that title Kidnapped & Enslaved…). But see for yourself…

You can find the whole thing on the milkboard if you’re so inclined…

Utpressing for nybegynnere
Release: 2011, Norway | IMDb | Website

Reckless

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reckless04

Reckless is set in the Scandinavian suburbs during the hottest summer day. It narrates an episode in the life of two siblings. Sofia is a beautiful blonde 15 year old girl and Mads is her little brother. When their parents decide to spend a weekend away, the girl is asked to baby-sit her brother – a task she seems reluctant to execute, so she takes him to the swimming pool. Here, she meets two boys that try to hit on her. Their interest is returned, and she leaves the child to himself, without thinking of the consequences.

It is clear that we are faced with a softly controversial film whose plot moves on two connected wires, where eroticism and social drama are interwoven, in a blurred line between a casual incident and recklessness. On one side, the man focus for Sorensen seems to be softly pushing the magnet of attraction until it reaches the sexual encounter between the teenagers: everything seems to happen with a certain naturalness. He gradually moves towards the intimacy of sex until he reaches a ménage à trois free from every morbidity, respecting the (surprising) innocence of these teens without indulging in an indiscreet gaze. The erotic charge is preserved in its spontaneity, which is not easy to accomplish.

The other strand is linked to the dramatic component that derives from Sofia’s failure to take care of her little brother, a task that her parents gave her perhaps without giving it too much thought.

Even if it would have elements to work on, Reckless does not attempt to engage in a specific discourse, but only wants to suggest something, leaving its message open, impressed on the “skin” of its characters. Several elements hint in this direction: the warmth of the light on the bodies, the cinematography that employs warm tones, the cream smeared on the body, the first physical contact, the water that glides on the bodies in the shower, the drop of blood that falls from Mads’ face. The viewer is left with a feeling of insolvency, taken by a double spiral of dizziness, the erotic charge of love and the violence of Mads’ drama. If the former is vented, the latter is there, suspended, waiting to be let out.

Reckless
Release: 2013, Norway | IMDb | Website

I would have loved to show you the actual short but couldn’t find any source that would have been somewhat legal to link to, let us know in the comments if you had more luck.

Periodical Political Post *16

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What good Sex Ed looks like

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Jansrud is a Norwegian celebrity and the 29-year-old host of the state-funded educational TV series Newton on Norway’s NRK TV. Recently, Newton aired a segment on puberty featuring Jansrud frankly discussing (and demonstrating) such topics as French kissing, masturbation, and how to give a hickey.

The segment begins with Jansrud explaining that puberty “gives you a new body that can make children if you have sex—otherwise known as fucking, screwing, shagging, getting it on, or making love”.  Jansrud then demonstrates where the clitoris and the sensitive nerves on the penis are located, on both live and rubber models.

“Now, what everyone starts with sooner or later, but rarely talks about, stroking your own sex parts. To masturbate,” she says. “Both the clitoris of the girl and the head of the penis on a boy is full of nerves that make it pleasant to touch.”

She then lubricates the vagina before demonstrating penetrative sexual intercourse on the rubber models, as well as how to use a condom. “For it to be pleasant, it’s vital that the vagina be moist enough,” she explains.”For the woman, you also have to rub the clitoris.”

Jansrud caps off the segment by showing viewers her pregnant belly. She found out she was pregnant on the air in February, and she plans to turn her pregnancy into a recurring segment on the series in the coming months.

This isn’t the first time that Newton has taken such a frank and educational approach to sex. Last month, the series landed in hot water on Facebook when the social network deleted a clip of Jansrud demonstrating where the uterus and fallopian tubes are located on a woman’s body by painting the organs on a naked model’s skin. Another clip showed Jansrud explaining menstruation by filming the blood trickling down a live model’s legs.

Such a straightforward approach to sex education seems to be par for the course in Nordic countries. Back in January, a Swedish TV children’s cartoon segment featuring a dancing penis and vagina went viral. The video featured the lyrics “Here comes the penis at full pace” and “the vagina is cool, you better believe it, even on an old lady.”

Unsurprisingly, Newton’s latest segment has been heavily criticized on a handful of foreign blogs, whose writers seem to think the segment is borderline pornographic and prurient. This is despite the fact that Jansrud also touches on such important issues as homosexuality, the age of consent, and the need to use contraceptives. She’s also quick to assure teens that “there’s no need to rush into having sex. It’ll happen soon enough.”

Yet sex-positive Norwegian commenters are applauding Jansrud for speaking about issues, like masturbation and penetrative sex, so frankly. “Great series, that I would like should have seen when I was in school!” one commenter wrote, while another chimed in: “I am genuinely proud of the fact that Norway is leading the way here. Stand on!”

Perhaps other countries should take a page out of Jansrud’s book and take a similarly frank approach to sex ed, or maybe we wouldn’t have things like chlamydia epidemics at public high schools in America to deal with.

Periodical Political Post *11

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