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Gay Generational Divide Explored in Low-Key Israeli Drama ‘Sublet’

Arriving in Tel Aviv, Michael Green (John Benjamin Hickey), a 56-year-old American travel writer, finds the apartment he’s arranged to sublet still occupied by its owner, Tomer (Niv Nissim), a 20-something student and budding filmmaker. Tomer and his friends shoot scary movies in his apartment and the cluttered, disorganized space is clearly a bit of a horror to the buttoned-up Michael, who decides to go find a hotel. Alarmed, Tomer grabs a bottle of cleanser and begins using his feet to scrub a towel across the floor before admitting that he really needs Michael’s sublet cash. Travel weary and charmed by this handsome gay man, Michael agrees to stay.

Sublet is the first film in seven years from the New York born, Israel raised writer-director Eytan Fox, whose 2002 debut feature, Yossi & Jagger was a sensation the world over. Detailing a love affair between two men in the Israeli Army, it remains a daring and much-admired film. In subsequent movies, including the excellent Walk on Water and The Bubble, Fox has continued to draw nuanced performances from first-time actors, while clearly drawing inspiration from Tel Aviv’s youth, many of whom prioritize sexual freedom and personal expression over politics and tradition.

When it becomes clear that Tomer doesn’t have another place to stay, Michael invites him to sleep on the sofa. Equating Michael’s sight-seeing itinerary to “a Jewish princess on her birthright tour,” Tomer begins showing Michael the city, and eventually takes him to meet his mother (Miki Kam) at a kibbutz in the countryside. It is there that the tightly-held Michael will reveal the recent trauma that’s led to a depression he’s done a poor job of concealing.

Michael’s reality, in which the pains of the near yet distant past lay against nearly every moment of his present, runs counter to Tomer’s insistence that life be sex-filled and complication-free. He’s young, in other words, and Fox and co-writer Itay Segal have fashioned for Hickey and Nissim  —a consummate pro and a gifted newcomer — a series of conversations that lay out the classic generational divide. Typically cavalier, Tomer dismisses AIDS out of hand  (“It’s so depressing. Why does everything always have to go back to that?”) only to be left speechless when Michael tells him he lost his first boyfriend to the disease.

Despite their continuing debates, it’s in their silences that the two men ignite change in one another. Tomer’s kindness loosens the knot within Michael, while the visiting writer’s soulful presence appears to move Tomer to feel more deeply than he usually allows. Like Michael himself, Sublet is almost painfully restrained — you might long for a stirring speech or two by the end, but both men would surely hate such a thing. Real friends don’t need speeches.   ❖

Quad Cinema

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CULTURE ARCHIVES FILM 2021 From The Archives

Love Conquers All in ‘I Carry You With Me’ – REDIRECT

Not long after Iván (Armando Espitia) meets and shares a passionate kiss with Gerardo (Christian Vasquez) in a gay bar outside the small Mexican town of Puebla, he talks on the phone to his mother, who tells him, “You sound different. I can almost hear your smile. Tell me who the lucky girl is.” It’s the mid-1990s, and the 20-something Iván, who has a son his ex-girlfriend is reluctant to let him see, dare not tell his mother, or anyone at all, that he’s falling in love with a man. The smile his mother senses is real but its source must remain a secret.

For I Carry You with Me (Te Llevo Conmigo), Oscar-nominated documentarian Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) creates an imperfect but moving narrative feature debut, finding inspiration in her friendship with the real-life Iván and Gerardo — footage of whom she cuts to extensively in the film’s final third. This structural leap is daring but it’s also jarring enough to throw you out of the film, unfortunately. The real-life couple, bless them, can’t quite compete with the glow cast by their fictionalized counterparts, played with quiet, haunting grace by Espitia and Vasquez.

In the most mundane of ways, Iván’s ex-girlfriend discovers he’s gay, prompting him to risk an illegal border crossing to America, and to New York, where he’s convinced he’ll quickly make enough money to be able to return to Mexico and not only fulfill his dream of owning his own restaurant but win custody of his son. Recognizing this plan as muddled and naive, Gerardo refuses to go with Iván but promises to remain true to him, a pledge he’ll end up going to great lengths to keep.

The film is at its best in its first hour, as Ewing and the gifted cinematographer, Juan Pablo Ramirez place the couple’s love against the shadowy half-light of clubs, rooftops, and one-lamp apartments. Their first kiss, the one that sets Iván to smiling, is framed by the filmmakers against the night sky, as if to suggest that these two men, and their burgeoning love, are an integral part of the natural landscape. It’s the most sensual kiss in recent film and the power of it carries Iván and Gerardo, and the film Ewing has made about them, forward through all the complications that follow.

Those complications include the lingering damage done by a father dismayed at having a gay son. “Aren’t you a man?” asks Gerardo’s enraged dad. Powerful too is the moment when Iván’s friend Sandra (Michelle Rodriguez), who accompanied him on the terrifying journey to America, admits that she’s miserable and longs to return to Mexico. “They hate us here,” she declares.

Thanks to Ewing’s gift for drawing deeply felt performances from a cast of relative newcomers, as well as an achingly plaintive score by the great Jay Wadley (Driveways), I Carry You with Me casts a dreamlike spell that not even the abrupt home stretch infusion of documentary footage can break. A love as deep and abiding as the one Iván and Gerardo share is destined, it would seem, to surmount all obstacles be they political or cinematic.    ❖

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Thai Prison Drama “A Prayer Before Dawn” Feels Scarily Authentic

In director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s riveting Thai prison drama A Prayer Before Dawn, Peaky Blinders sensation Joe Cole stars as Billy Moore, an English-born amateur boxer living in Thailand. A meth-head who lights up before a fight, the twentysomething Moore is arrested for gun possession and thrown into the infamous Klong Prem prison. Within ten minutes of the film’s start, Billy is in a cellblock surrounded by throngs of Thai inmates, who berate him in a language he doesn’t understand. They force him at shiv-point to witness the gang rape of a young prisoner — a scene as harrowing for the men’s nonchalance as for its violence.

Adapted by Jonathan Hirschbein and Nick Saltrese from Moore’s 2014 memoir, this is a film where men communicate in grunts, slaps, and head locks, which Sauvaire (Johnny Mad Dog) and cinematographer David Ungaro shoot in long takes and unrelenting close-ups. Billy’s cellmates, tattooed from head to toe, are played by ex-cons, and since Sauvaire filmed in a recently abandoned Bangkok prison, A Prayer Before Dawn feels scarily authentic, and may be too much for some. But there are moments of grace amid the setting’s despair. Billy joins the prison boxing club and gradually comes to know the inmates, who embrace him as one of their own. A scene where they tattoo his back is filmed as a reverent laying on of the hands — the inverse of all the violence that came before. And the year seems unlikely to offer acting as exquisite as the small moment when the warden hands Billy unexpected letters from his family. Surprised, Billy freezes, and yet, somehow, in that non-movement of his body, Cole suggests the life-renewing soul-shock Billy is experiencing. It’s a great performance in a film that’s likely to become a classic of its kind.

A Prayer Before Dawn
Directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
A24
Opens August 10, Village East Cinema
Available on DIRECTV

 

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“Buddies” Remains an Urgently Moving Study of Life and Death in the AIDS Era

For a stretch of time in the 1980s and ’90s, the word buddy meant, in modern gay life, someone who had agreed to be a friend to a man dying of AIDS. A buddy visited. Listened to stories. Told stories. Laughed. Cried. And above all, tried to make sure that the frail man in the bed knew that he had not been forgotten. That his passing would be noted. And mourned.

In the 1985 film Buddies, writer-director Arthur J. Bressan Jr. did a simple yet radical thing: He told the story of one such friendship and, in the process, made the first feature-length drama about AIDS. Shot on 16mm film in nine days, Buddies earned respectful reviews and a few festival prizes, but has faded from view over the years. Bressan died of AIDS in July 1987; now, thanks to the efforts of his sister Roe Bressan and film historian Jenni Olson, Buddies has received a 2K digital restoration from Vinegar Syndrome. Thirty-three years after its initial release, the film remains as affecting as ever.

In a New York hospital, 25-year-old David (David Schachter) dons a surgical gown, mask, and gloves to visit Robert (Geoff Edholm), 32, who is sick, alone, and filled with fury at a society that’s turned its back on dying gay men. The two couldn’t be more different. Polite and quiet David has been with his boyfriend for five years. His parents have embraced his homosexuality. Robert asks rude questions about sex, speechifies about politics, and has only sad stories to tell about his own coming out. “It was like one of those silent films where the father throws the kid out into the storm.”

Robert is a bit too real for David, but the younger man sticks with it, and as the days and months pass, the two grow closer. In a painfully resonant scene, Robert tells David of a visit by his first and greatest love, and weeps at his failure to express his deepest feelings. The chance will never come again, and Robert knows it. The scene is beautifully played by Edholm, who went on to perform in the marvelous “AIDS Alive” Persons with AIDS theater piece before passing away in 1989.

Bressan’s career covered a fascinating mix of genres. He made porn films (with heart), as well as documentaries (the classic Gay USA), which surely accounts for Buddies’ unexpectedly layered textures. The film opens and closes with the screech of a dot matrix printer typing out a health department list of men who’ve died — there’s the sense that the printer will never run out of names. At one point, David brings home movies from Robert’s apartment, including Super-8 footage of Robert and his lover running on the beach. Later, in his mind’s eye, David sees himself on that beach, running beside Robert, for whom he has feelings he can’t fathom and can’t avoid.

Buddies was made from fury — Bressan was outraged by the Reagan administration’s murderous apathy. But also, I suspect, by the filmmaker’s longing to have himself and all queers be seen by the larger world as fully human rather than as malformed creatures not worth saving. For all those living with HIV today and getting the help they need — including this reviewer — that makes Bressan heroic, and the return of his classic film to our screens a cause not for sorrow, but for celebration.

Buddies
Directed by Arthur J. Bressan Jr.
Frameline
Opens June 22, Quad Cinema

 

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The Truth About “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” Is Pretty Sorry

The painfully dull horror movie Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare bears the name of its production company, which in turn is named after producer Jason Blum, who’s on a roll. In the past dozen years, he’s energized scary movies with a string of inventive hits, including the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Purge films, while also earning himself a ticket to the Oscars as co-producer of Get Out. Horror fans trust Blumhouse, so why waste the brand on a flick as lame as Truth or Dare?

Still, better this get the company-in-the-title treatment than Blumhouse’s Get Out.

The fatal game of truth or dare begins for USC senior Olivia (Lucy Hale) and her friends on the last night of spring break in Mexico. Secretly pining for Lucas (Tyler Posey), the boyfriend of her lifelong friend Markie (Violett Beane), Olivia lets herself be charmed by Carter (Landon Liboiron), a stranger who soon has Olivia and her pals trekking by cellphone light to a dilapidated mission in the middle of nowhere.

Carter suggests a party game, secrets get revealed, including Olivia’s, and then, prompted to reveal his own truth, Carter admits that he lured everyone to the mission because “I’m OK with strangers dying if it means I get to live.” Creepy mission curse duly passed on, Carter runs out into the night, but not before warning Olivia that the game will follow them home, that they’re all doomed to die if they fail to play, and, gosh, he’s really sorry.

The gang laughs off his warning, but back at school, Olivia finds herself surrounded by schoolmates with glowing red eyes and demonically distorted faces who taunt her with the soon to be tiresome query: “Truth or dare?” Olivia survives the harsh moment of truth that follows, but another spring break pal fails to deliver on a dare and promptly dies in what looks to onlookers to be an accidental death.

Fresh ideas are rare in the horror game, so it’s not surprising that Truth or Dare quickly devolves into a riff on the Final Destination films, which had Death wittily and methodically hunting those it failed to nab in plane crashes and other disasters. Olivia and her friends are being picked off, too, but there’s little precision and zero fun in director Jeff Wadlow’s action staging, which tends to be rushed and indistinct. He’s experienced in genre (Kick-Ass 2, Cry Wolf, co-producing TV’s The Strain) but here he seems most at home guiding his young cast through the emotional hoops of the many secrets and true-heart desires the game will reveal. Too often, Truth or Dare feels like a 1990s-era TV teen soap.

In the long home stretch, Wadlow and his four screenwriters build to a fever pitch not of terror, but of explication, as Olivia and Lucas Google themselves silly trying to track the source of the party curse, a process that leads them to a mute Mexican nun who explains everything (and nothing) in notes she scribbles on a pad. Legibly. In English. It’s that kind of movie. Don’t ask for logic or thrills, but do be prepared to return next spring for the sequel. The house of Blum, we suspect, has a plan.

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare
Directed by Jeff Wadlow
Universal Pictures
Now playing

 

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With “A Quiet Place,” John Krasinski Has Crafted a Horror Great

“It’s Sound!” screams a briefly glimpsed newspaper headline flapping in the wind at the start of actor-director John Krasinski’s marvelously tense, surprisingly melancholy horror thriller, A Quiet Place. That headline is no longer news to the family of five we meet inside an abandoned country market, where they gather supplies while communicating via sign language, encouraging smiles and, when the four-year-old boy (Cade Woodward) nearly sends a toy crashing to the ground from a high shelf, looks of pure terror.

The family’s trip to town will turn out to be a prologue that builds, inexorably, to the death of the youngest child while also setting the ground rules for this desolate new America: Make any sort of sharp, unexpected sound and a mantis-like alien creature will zoom out of nowhere to swoop you away to an instant, grisly death.

A year later, that family has settled on a vast wheat farm, living in the basement of the main house and the barn’s fruit cellar. The mother (Emily Blunt) — the characters are never named — is pregnant, due in three weeks, and while she and her husband (Krasinski) never discuss the question the impending arrival raises, moviegoers aren’t likely to stop worrying over it: In a life that must be lived in silence, how do you manage a crying baby?

The answer will prove to be ingenious, like so many of the survival tactics engineered by the father, who has hooked up surveillance cameras and strung holiday lights all across the farm, which will turn out to have a color scheme of special significance. The family walks in their bare feet, so as to have a lighter tread, and a squeak-free path has been painted onto the wood floors. Each day, the father pours fresh sand around the property so he can track how many unearthly creatures are clomping about. Current count: three.

More personally, he’s obsessed with repairing the cochlear implant of his daughter (the gifted fifteen-year-old deaf actress, Millicent Simmonds, recent star of Wonderstruck), from whom he’s increasingly estranged, in ways that have everything to do with complexities of the parent-child relationship rather than the problems of alien invasion survival. When it’s time to check the fish traps in a nearby river, the family’s surviving son (Noah Jupe) begs not to go — there be monsters out there — even as his sister pleads to take his place. The father insists the boy come along and his daughter stay behind, where she’ll “be safe.” What’s fascinating about the exchange is that in the middle of a scary movie, Krasinski and co-writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods turn our full attention to the push-and-pull of gender roles within a traditional family, and then, better still, let that theme evolve, in deeply emotional ways, over the course of the film.

A Quiet Place is Krasinski’s third film as director, after his misguided adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews With Hideous Men (2009) and the generic family drama The Hollars (2016). Neither of those movies suggested that “Jim” from TV’s The Office was a filmmaker bursting with talent — breaking news: Not all actors were born to direct. That makes it a bit of a shock that A Quiet Place feels like the work of an old pro who has been newly inspired. There are fine touches, as when the sound mutes to a soft hum whenever the point of view shifts to the hearing-impaired daughter, or the rigorous specificity of the many action set pieces, which include a harrowing, potentially classic sequence involving the siblings in a grain tower.

A Quiet Place is completely gripping, and in a film fully reliant on facial communication, exquisitely acted by those amazing kids, and by Krasinski and Blunt, who’ve never been better (and who also happen to be married in real life). The creatures, who look scrawny and disillusioned by movie’s end, aren’t likely to be remembered for long, but the husband and wife’s tender late-night slow dance feels indelible. It’s a funny thing. A Quiet Place is full of fabulous, virtuoso action set pieces, but mere hours after seeing it, what I’m already flashing on the most are the ways in which each member of this family, children and adults alike, tries to carry the weight of their central burden, which isn’t fear and dread, but guilt and grief, two monsters no third act plot twist can ever quite vanquish.

A Quiet Place
Directed by John Krasinski
Paramount Pictures
Opens April 6

 

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“The Strangers: Prey at Night” Leaps From Grim to Goofy to Save the Day

The 2008 horror movie The Strangers, which found Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman being terrorized in a remote country house by three creepily masked young people, was harsh and unnerving and, thanks to affecting work by it stars, memorably sad. The low-budget flick made big money, but somehow — in what’s surely a behind-the-scenes Hollywood story crueler than anything Strangers writer-director Bryan Bertino could get onscreen — it’s taken ten years for a sequel to make it to theaters. The Strangers: Prey at Night, co-written by Bertino and Ben Ketai and directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) has a slow and rather grim first half, but then, in the home stretch, takes a welcome turn into the seriously silly.

Weary of dealing with their rebellious teenage daughter Kinsey (Bailee Madison) — you know she’s badass ’cause she wears a Ramones shirt — Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson) have decided to send her to boarding school, even if they have to go bankrupt to do it. Determined to force a little family unity before she goes, they take Kinsey and her older brother Luke (Lewis Pullman) to a trailer-park campground run by Cindy’s uncle. They arrive late. It’s off-season, deserted, foggy, the trailer is tiny, and mom and dad want to play cards. Big fun.

Knock. Knock. “Is Tamara here?” The young woman (Emma Bellomy) asking the question (as she did in the first film) has long stringy hair, but her face is hidden in the shadows. The parents send her away, but she’ll soon return, in a white “Dollface” mask, with two murderous pals in tow — “Pin-Up Girl” (Lea Enslin) and the guy in the smiley-face burlap mask (Damian Maffei). The trio will set about hunting the family down with kitchen knives and an ax, but not before taunting them with 1980s rock anthems and out-of-the-shadows jump scares. Being everywhere at once is their specialty.

It wouldn’t be fair to reveal which family member dies first in The Strangers, but the actor is very good, so good in fact that the spirited crowd at my preview screening seemed to sink into instant mourning, much as I did when Tyler and Speedman got gutted in the original film ten years ago. For a few moments, that audience went oddly quiet and still, as if filled with a collective dread for all the grisly deaths yet to be endured.

That makes the third-act silliness of The Strangers: Prey at Night more striking. In a blink, the film goes from grim to goofy, and it’s hard not to feel as if the audience willed it so, on the spot. The good guys keep dying, to be sure, but the Strangers take some licks, too. Those sequences include a pickup vs. SUV battle and a long poolside fight that’s a triumph for Roberts, particularly in its use of bubbling water, gurgling blood, and a Bonnie Tyler classic whose title I won’t mention for fear that you, too, will get it stuck in your head for hours and hours on end. Therein lies the true horror…

The Strangers: Prey at Night
Directed by Johannes Roberts
Aviron Pictures
Opens March 9

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“Bombshell” Tells the Wild, True Story of Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood Beauty and Pioneering Scientist

The famously beautiful actress Hedy Lamarr set movie screens ablaze in the 1940s and ’50s, but what few knew was that her true calling was as an inventor: Credit Lamarr with the Wi-Fi technology bringing you this review. In this superb documentary, first-time filmmaker Alexandra Dean uses newly discovered audio tapes from a 1990 interview to let Lamarr — with valuable insight from historians, her children, and friends such as the late Robert Osborne — tell the amazing story of her life. Born in Austria, she shocked the world at age sixteen by appearing in a scandalous nudie pic called Ekstase (1933), which the pope denounced and Hitler banned. At eighteen, she married a munitions tycoon whose controlling ways (and ties to Mussolini and the Nazis) sent her fleeing to Paris, in an escape story so wild and inherently cinematic that it cries out to be dramatized.

Hollywood soon made her a star — Algiers and Samson and Delilah are among her best remembered films — but all along Lamarr was honing her skills as an amateur engineer. In an inspired stroke, Dean uses animation to show how Lamarr visualized the inner workings of every object such as player pianos and TV remotes, a way of seeing that helped her devise a frequency-hopping radio signal that would change the world. Recognition (and compensation) proved elusive in Lamarr’s lifetime, but in this marvelous documentary, a brilliant woman — “I’m a very simple, complicated person” — finally gets her due.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
Directed by Alexandra Dean
Zeitgeist Films
Opens November 24, IFC Center

 

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Rose Marie Remains Wonderful, But a New Documentary About Her Disappoints

Singer-actress Rose Marie, best known for her iconic portrayal of Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, made news this past August when she joined Twitter to celebrate her 94th birthday and gained 40,000 followers overnight. Her delight at the attention has been lovely to observe, which makes it hard to report that the new documentary about her life, Wait for Your Laugh, is a disappointment. Without taking a moment to suggest to non-fans the breadth of the ninety-year career he’s about to track, director Jason Wise jumps into an overly exhaustive job-by-job chronology, as if ticking off Marie’s Imdb page.

A treasure trove of archival photos and footage charts the rise, circa 1927, of the four-year-old singing sensation known as Baby Rose Marie. A national radio show soon followed, and later, a nightclub career that found Marie headlining Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo Hotel. (The Mob loved her.) There’s marvelous in-color backstage footage from The Dick Van Dyke Show but only one scene from the actual show, a decision akin to doing a Lucille Ball doc without clips from I Love Lucy. It’s disconcerting too that interview footage in this sequence has been edited in such a way as to make Marie appear ungracious toward Van Dyke and the late Mary Tyler Moore, which doesn’t appear to have been her intent. Pristine end-credit footage of Marie singing a comic song in its entirety is wonderful, but also too little too late. Rose Marie was — and is — a fabulous talent, but this off-kilter documentary doesn’t completely make the case.

Wait for Your Laugh
Directed by Jason Wise
Vitograph Films
Opens November 1, Landmark 57

 

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“Tom of Finland” Gives a Boldly Gay Artist the Too-Polite Movie Treatment

When same-sex marriage became legal in Finland this past March, the government celebrated by releasing an official emjoi — a leather-clad man with a drooping mustache and a police-style cap emblazoned with the word “Tom.” No explanation was necessary, for “Tom” was clearly a nod to Tom of Finland — real name Touko Laaksonen — the twentieth-century Finnish artist whose erotic art featuring hyper-masculine men in tight uniforms with bulging biceps and erect, comically enormous penises inspired repressed gay men the world over to embrace their own inner sex gods. In the admirably ambitious yet disappointing new film Tom of Finland, director Dome Karukoski and screenwriter Aleksi Bardy cover some forty-odd years in the life of Laaksonen (a superb Pekka Strang), a turn of time in which the artist goes from hiding his drawings behind an attic wall to seeing them become celebrated and then iconic, particularly in America.

It’s likely to surprise Tom of Finland fans that there’s so little explicit sex in this movie, but the choice, which certainly makes a slow movie even slower, feels true to the period, which was all about holding forbidden desires at bay. Born in 1920, Laaksonen learned early on to admire men furtively, and save his deepest feelings for the drawing page. During World War II, when the film begins, he becomes practiced in the art of the lingering glance, leading to clandestine liaisons in the woods with soldiers, a cruising-as-life stratagem he’ll deploy in civilian life as well, to good effect and bad. (A punch in the nose one day, an encounter with a future boyfriend the next.)

As he draws, Laaksonen flashes on men he was attracted to but didn’t dare approach, most of them laborers, briskly tailored military officers, and most specifically, a handsome Russian paratrooper (Siim Maaten) he knifed to death in the war. As the years pass, Laaksonen’s horrific memories of the killing evolve into waking fantasies that find the paratrooper alive and well and walking into the wildly sexualized tableaus the artist conjures from everyday life. While photographing a motorcycle club on a Helsinki street, Laaksonen grins as the Russian appears and begins grinding his body against the motorcyclists. The dead Russian has become Laaksonen’s ultimate man: muscles, leather, ready-to-fuck smile.

Such moments are potent, so why does Tom of Finland play like an over-cited term paper? The film is jammed with incident and detail but there’s little flow to the storytelling, and all too often, no clear sense of what year it is exactly or which soldier belongs to which army, much less why the filmmakers keep returning, again and again, to Laaksonen’s bigoted, dreary sister (Jessica Grabowsky). From beginning to end, she stops the movie in its tracks.

There’s a vibrant sequence in the home stretch that hints at the film that could have been. In the mid-1950s, Laaksonen’s longtime boyfriend (a moving Lauri Tilkanen) convinces him to send his art to America, and the Tom of Finland phenomenon begins. Two decades later, prior to the advent of AIDS, Laaksonen arrives in L.A.’s West Hollywood and is stunned to see something he helped create but surely never expected: a city brimming with loud, proud, happy homosexuals.

Tom of Finland
Directed by Dome Karukoski
Kino Lorber
Opens October 13, Quad Cinema