Tom of Finland: the salacious treated prestigiously- Paul Bellini - MyGaytoronto
Tom of Finland: the salacious treated prestigiously 19 February 2018.
I remember when I first discovered the artwork of Tom of Finland, back in the early '80s. I was turned on, but not just sexually. I was turned on the same way superheroes turned me on. The men were depicted with preposterously shaped muscular builds and penises the size of which has never existed in the human species. I was blown away because here was someone who created a whole world and lived in it, and back in a time when it would have been actually against the law to create this type of material.
Tom of Finland was a maverick, and a legend, and as gay men we owe him a debt. He broke down doors with his depictions of gay male sexuality. It's not for the prudish, but he was one of a kind, and a true activist (in that he put his life on the line). Whether you love or loathe sexual artwork, there is no denying that his impact on gay culture is significant.
Last year, the Fins rolled out the honours. Aside from a ton of merchandise with TofF pictures on it, the country splurged on an epic biopic. Directed by Dome Karukoski, it traces Tom's early years as a soldier, and how he dealt with his trauma by drawing hunks. Much is made of his relationship with his sister. Eventually, he is discovered by some Americans who bring him to Los Angeles to soak up the praise and begin building an empire.
The movie, it should be said, is more dignified than salacious, which, considering the topic material, might be a lost opportunity. You'd expect a lot more skin, but Tom of Finland has emerged as one of that country's greatest ambassadors. Finland even chose this film as their official entry for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards (it was not chosen).
So, see it. It's good, it's just not as good as Tom of Finland's actual drawings. Imagine a hardcore animated movie starring Tom's men. Now that would be amazing.
Tom Of Finland - Feb 23 - Mar 1 - Imagine Cinemas Carlton