Tom of Finland
Queens Film Theatre (QFT) – 11 August 2017
August 2017 and the QFT (Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast) showed two completely different films on LGBTQ experiences – namely ‘Tom of Finland’ and ‘Britain on Film: LGBT Britain’
Tom of Finland
Tom of Finland is an award-winning film by film-maker Dome Karukwsi who has brought to the screen the life and work of Tuoko Laaksonen. Toko served his country during the 2nd World War but upon his return to Helsinki discovered a town rampant with homophobic persecution (like a lot of the world). He found work as an advertising artist but in private sought refuge in his ‘art’ which specialised in homoerotic drawings of muscular men. The story revolves around his life in Helsinki and to a degree being in the closet, and that of being persuaded to follow his dreams and this led to his work being printed and promoted in the USA. For a generation, his art became the emblem of freedom and helped fan the flames of a gay revolution.
Britain on Film: LGBT Britain
Britain on Film: LGBT Britain is like a gallery of snip-its of films spanning 1909 to 1994, and seeks to document a century(or thereabouts) in which homosexuality went from crime to pride.
It highlights courageous activism, the change of attitudes of communities to LGBT people, whilst the greater community was itself going through tumultuous explosive social change.
This film provides a window into that period, but in a film which lasts only 1 hour 20 minutes, it cannot hope to provide answers for those of us who like depth and quality. What it does do is provide a signpost to those who want to do follow-up research starting points. Areas to start, names, events to look at.
As an adjunct to the film possibly a website with the timeline of the events and films with links to resources would be the next natural step for the producer or researchers who supported the production.