Tom of Finland, the biopic about the gay icon will have its world premiere and open the 2017 Göteborg Film Festival in Göteborg, Sweden. As per tradition, the opening will take place at cinema Draken in Göteborg, but the opening film will be shown at a total of 40 locations throughout the region in honor of the festival’s 40th anniversary.
“We are very proud about being able to screen Tom of Finland as the opening film. It’s a beautiful, intelligent and deeply moving portrayal of a fascinating life and a unique artistry. Tom of Finland is an artistically powerful film possessing great power to attract international attention, which makes it the perfect opening film for the Göteborg Film Festival,” the festival’s artistic director Jonas Holmberg says.
The gay icon Tom of Finland is today a renowned artist whose work is exhibited at fine galleries. His homoerotic dream-world, in which sexual attributes are always enormous and muscles strapping, has even been used on Finnish stamps. But when Touko Laaksonen began drawing, homosexuality was illegal in Finland, and the film says that it would have been easier to get published in the Vatican. The director Dome Karukoski portrays the illustrator’s path from life as a soldier during the Second World War, through violence and persecution in Helsinki to liberation in liberal California. In the main role we encounter Pekka Strang who debuted in Kites Over Helsinki (2001) and who’s since had roles in, among other things, Producing Adults (2004) and Colorado Avenue (2007).
“The film developed from being a story about an artist to being a story about freedom of expression, about our society,” Dome Karukoski says.
Through his directing Dome Karukoski has previously examined rifts in Finnish society, perhaps most explicitly in Heart of a Lion (2013), in which the Finnish Neo-Nazi, Teppo, tries to leave his past behind.
Attending the opening at cinema Draken on January 27 will be Dome Karukoski (director), Pekka Strang (actor), Lauri Tilkanen (actor), Aleksi Bardy (producer), Miia Haavisto (producer) and Annika Sucksdorff (producer).