7:30 PM, 22nd June, 2018
Tom of Finland looks at famous Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen – better known by his pseudonym ‘Tom Of Finland’ – and his erotic drawings that have been a favourite of a whole generation of gay men. Starting with his service in World War II, where he became fascinated with the masculinity of men in uniform, the film then depicts his return to a very conservative Finland (where homosexuality was illegal until 1971) and emergence as an artist whose depiction of men in skin-tight clothes, or no clothes at all, gained a cult following. His homoerotic art then finds an unlikely publisher (who previously only published religious books!) in California during the sexual revolution of the 1970s.
Finland’s official entry into the 2017 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race, Tom of Finland is a solid depiction of a life worthy of attention. I was not familiar with the artist before the movie, and for me it told a fascinating and moving tale.
(And shame on the Classification Board for giving this film an ‘R’ rating for drawings of penises, when much more violent and disturbing fare can easily get away with ‘MA’ ratings).