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Tom of Finland Image

Tom of Finland

Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema

When LGBTQ icon Tom of Finland died, in 1991, the subversive artist who saw his "pornographic" drawings of well-endowed hunks go from criminal to celebrated (MOMA has some of his work) could be hailed justifiably as one of the key pioneers in bringing gay culture into the mainstream. Director Dome Karukoski’s biopic stars an excellent Pekka Strang as Tom (real name: Touko Laaksonen) and traces his obsessions back to WWII when the young artist-to-be served in the military. After the war, the closeted advertising illustrator began secretly drafting homoerotic pictures of hunky soldiers, farm boys and Brando-like bikers, fetishistic imagery that soon gained an underground following. As homosexuality began to be decriminalized, those underground works reached a wider audience, eventually leading to Los Angeles-based publisher Doug (Seumas Sargent) agreeing to publish them. And then came the halcyon days and nights in the California of the 1970s and 80s…

"Karukoski’s… enjoyable portrait is most effective at showcasing the bountiful beauty of [Tom’s] fleshy, filthy sketches, as well as the empowered pursuit of pleasure for which they continue to stand… Tom’s Californication years… yield some lively material, as Karukoski and screenwriter Aleksi Bardy look back wistfully at an era of sexual revolution in the U.S. that pointedly seems all the more distant and golden in this age of aggressive conservatism."—Guy Lodge, Variety

FIPRESCI Prize, Gothenburg 17

Director Dome Karukoski
Country of Origin: Finland/Germany/Denmark/Sweden
Year: 2017
Running Time: 116 mins
Format: DCP
Language:In English, Finnish, German with English subtitles
Related Links: Trailer | Screen review | Slant review
Cast: Pekka Strang, Lauri Tilkanen, Jessica Grabowsky, Taisto Oksanen, Seumas Sargent, Jakob Oftebro
Producer: Aleksi Bardy, Miia Haavisto, Annika Sucksdorff
Screenwriter: Aleksi Bardy
Cinematographer: Frank Lasse
Editor: Harri Ylönen
Music: Hildur Guönadóttir, Lasse Enersen
Production Company: Helsinki-Filmi Oy
Distributor: Kino Lorber

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