The proudly erotic drawings of artist Touko Laaksonen, known to the world as Tom of Finland, shaped the fantasies of a generation of gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness. But who was the man behind the leather?
Dome Karukoski’s stirring biopic follows his life from the trenches of WWII and repressive Finnish society of the 1950s through his struggle to get his work published in California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s. Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the gay liberation movement for which his leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem.
Finland, 2017, 115 min. In Finnish, German and English with English subtitles.
Directed by Dome Karukoski. Cast: Pekka Strang, Jakob Oftebro, Jessica Grabowsky.