Tom of Finland

The biopic of Touro Laaksonen, known as Tom of Finland (played by Pekka Strang) begins by explaining why the very talented artist, born in a town in Finland during 1920, became the premier gay artist of all time. During the war with the Soviet Union, he has an ongoing relationship with his commanding officer. Whether fond memories, PTSD, or both, Tom begins to draw exotic pictures of men in uniform, police and well as military, sometimes in leather, revealing dominant looks that serve as turn-ons for Tom in memory more than in person. His drawings feature poses of men with fantastic builds, including body parts deemed too erotic when he begins, often featuring blond muscular studs as the passive partners of black-haired uniformed dominants. But he encounters homophobic incidents in Finland. When he goes to Berlin to find a commercial outlet for his erotic drawings, he is robbed and jailed. He ultimately communicates with someone in Los Angeles, where he is regarded upon arrival as a hero of the leather gay leather community and finds a printer who is willing to turn his drawings into paperback picture books, though he sells copies of individual drawings to adorn the gay bars of Los Angeles and New York. When the AIDS crisis begins, with gays dying in the early 1980s, Tom’s drawings are accompanied by condom warnings. Much of the film focuses on his relationship to a dancer friend in Finland, Veli (Lauri Tilkanen) whom he meets in a Finnish park only to see him beat up by police. Subsequently, Veli rents a room from Tom and his sister Kaija (Jessical Graabowsi) and later dies of throat cancer. Not featured is the fact that Tom is given a place to live in Echo Park Los Angeles by an admirer, publishiner of Physique Pictorial in 1958, now an official city monument. But in 1991 Tom dies of emphesma due to the smoking habit. Directed by Dome Karukoski, Tom of Finland has been nominated by the Political Film Society has nominated as best film exposé of 2017. MH