Touko Laaksonen, a decorated officer, returns home after a harrowing and heroic experience serving his country in World War II, but life in Finland during peacetime proves equally distressing. He finds peace-time Helsinki rampant with persecution of the homosexual men around him, even being pressured to marry women and have children. Touko finds refuge in his liberating art, specializing in homoerotic drawings of muscular men, free of inhibitions. His work - made famous by his signature 'Tom of Finland' - became the emblem of a generation of men and fanned the flames of a gay revolution. Written by
Touko Valio Laaksonen was the man hidden behind the pseudonym of Tom of Finland, a draftsman who began drawing for advertisements, using as complement for the work a camera to capture characters and postures; photos, that later, through his pencil he would become into commercial (or not so commercial) pictures, since he secretly had an inclination: he obsessively drew erotic male illustrations. Tom had in common the use of the camera with Robert Mapplethorpe but Robert used it to enhance the beauty of the human nature while Tom would disfigure it. Tom has in common also with Norman Rockwell to have begun like advertisement draftsman, but Rockwell evolved towards the portrait of the friendly face of life. Tom of Finland is neither one nor the other, he finally became in the creator of an universe in which the super macho man gravitates with all his excesses, adorned by a paraphernalia of uniforms, pants and shirts impossibly tight, leather, etc. whose ultimate aim is to carry the virility and the homoerotic excitement to the last degree. This movie treats the whole matter with great delicacy; to the extent that one of the protagonists tries a psychiatric treatment to cure himself of his "illness". In Europe, homosexuality at that time was socially rejected, punished, and therefore hidden. In América It did not reach all those extremes and a more openly situation contributed to the success of Tom's work. The protagonist ends up pretending to be one of his drawings but only manages to be an outline because his complexion and nature has nothing to do with the characters he drew. His sad and gloomy smile and behavior despite having achieved the success were always accompanied by the inseparable cigarette whose (by the way) omnipresence constitutes nearly an abuse towards the viewer. Throughout the film, every time everywhere cigarettes and smoke are present. It is said that in the movies, in case of the hands and movements of an actor are not expressive enough the solution is a cigarette. Here we come to think that we are subliminally manipulated. Apart from this anecdotal observation the film is worth to watch.
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