Features – International / UK Premiere
Baldvin Z/Iceland/2010/97 min/TBC/Icelandic with English subtitles
The much-maligned teenager is the subject of Baldvin Z’s Jitters, a new Icelandic coming-of-age drama that follows the lives of a group of teens over the course of one very long, tragic and dramatic summer.
Following Gabriel’s (Atli Oskar Fjalarsson) return from a summer school in Manchester, he finds himself grappling with his sexuality, whilst his friends must face challenges of their own that ultimately lead to tragedy.
The teen drama is a genre that’s been around for decades, and while it can be done well, with Kids and Rumble Fish being two of the most famous versions of this phenomenon, for every good, original and impressive teen drama, there are hundreds of substandard versions, and, Jitters is one of the latter. Z’s film has a promising start, the film opens with Gabriel’s first homosexual encounter, and while it is delicately handled and very sensitively portrayed, the gentle comment on life for the modern teenager that Jitters tries to create is crushed by the weight of a dozen other teen clichés and stereotypes used in the film. As well as homosexuality, the characters have to contend with racial tension, self harm, suicide, sex, absent parents and every overdone teen theme possible. The problem with creating a piece of work about teens is that infamous films and TV shows like Skins have already faced these issues, so they don’t have the same impact with a contemporary audience that they once had; which is unfortunate, because the young cast are very talented, and also extremely believable in their roles, but they’re let down by the film’s unoriginal premise and elongated running time. This addition to the ever-expanding adolescent genre is an immature and forgettable part of the EIFF programme.