Jitters: It’s Not Easy Being A Gay Teen, Even in Iceland
Icelandic director Baldvin Z’s great secret is that he never activates any unnecessary sentimentality while under the influence of his latest teen drama, Jitters, a feature length available on DVD March 27th.
Or, as it happens, any hesitation to show all areas of teenage life no matter how complicated or diminishing they may seem, which is to say that Baldvin Z devotes quite a bit of time to the most familiar of adolescent stomping grounds: Sex, booze and texting. In short, what more could you ask for, perverts?
Based on the popular novels of Ingibjorg Reynisdottir, who wrote the screenplay of the same Icelandic name (Órói), Jitters spins a finely tuned coming-of-age story around two attractive teenage boys—uptight Gabriel and unhindered Marcus—who drift like dry snow across Iceland’s contemplative and impenetrable landscape (much like each character’s inner topography).
But this doesn’t mean that everyone who inhabits the film lives inside some sort of insulated and blanched world. On the contrary, audiences and critics are calling Jitters a hyper-realistic soap opera, very much like an Icelandic version of the TV series Skins, mainly for its top-notch acting and variety of relationships not yet fully understood.
And like every well-contained drama, the demands of the flesh and of love often come attached to fear and that impossible space between infatuation and heartache. After Gabriel steals an unexpected kiss from Marcus (while the two of them are fixated on their three-week study abroad program in Manchester, England), he quickly falls into psychic turmoil. And in that state of mind, he must decide whether he should come out as gay or continue to defend himself against a barrage of unwanted sexual advances from his female friends Stella and Judit, played by the talented actresses Hreindis Ylva Gardarsdottir and Maria Birta respectively. No doubt, teenage angst seems to blow in from everywhere.
Yes, as most of you might already know, sex and love can be objects of dread, for in them we are often moved to imagine our microscopic place in time and on planet Earth. But in similar ways, at least for Gabriel, they can also make us feel millions of light-years away. And in the end, isn’t that the whole point?