tomoffinlandtrailer

‘Tom Of Finland’ Trailer: Censorship Or Cautious Marketing?

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We’ve been quivering with anticipation inside our vintage motorcycle boots over the pending release of Tom of Finland, the biopic of famed erotic artist Touko Laaksonen aka Tom of Finland.

Finland has selected Tom of Finland as its candidate for the best foreign-language film Oscar.

The American poster and trailer for the film were released earlier this week.

We’d peeped several international trailers for the film over the past few months and were surprised to see the U.S. version was a bit… flaccid. The clips pulled from the film were frequently identical, but the U.S. version was definitely less explicit, less explicitly homo and devoid of nudity. What gives? We’re surprised, frankly, considering the subject of the film – an artist who achieved worldwide acclaim depicting muscular men sucking and fucking each other in the woods.

Flagrant conducted a side-by-side comparison of the international trailer and the U.S. version. Both trailers are attached below. Timecodes indicate start of sequence in question.

 

International Version:

0:19  Touko/Tom sits at desk, woman across from him says, “You have to find someone you can share your life with.” He responds, “I had someone in the war.” She says, “From the women’s auxiliary corps?” He says, “A fighter pilot.”

U.S. Version:

0:23  Touko/Tom sits at desk, woman across from him says, “You have to share your life with someone.” He responds, “I had someone in the war.” She says, “A woman?” He says, after a pause, “No.”

 

International Version:

0:32  Interrogator/cop asks Tom if confiscated erotica belongs to him, “Is this yours?” The image in question is a man-on-man-on-man sandwich, which we clearly can distinguish.

U.S. Version:

0:35  Interrogator/cop asks Tom if confiscated erotica belongs to him, “Is this yours?” The image passes by so quickly, it barely registers as more than a blur.

 

International Version:

0:42  A naked man does a push-up on a frozen lake, followed by hordes of also naked, young men chasing each across lake, posterior (ass) view.

U.S. Version:  

Nothing comparable at this timeline.

 

International Version:

0:45  Tom sits at table reviewing his illustrations and remarks, “I have to have a hard-on to know it’s good.”

U.S. Version:

0:46  Tom sits at a table as another man approaches. Tom says, “You into art?” The man says, “Maybe. What do you have?” Tom is shown sketching an outline of a man’s nipple.

International Version:

1:15  Tom is being hosted at a men-only Los Angeles pool party. Fully clothed and swimsuit clad hunks mix and mingle in the background. A mixed race duo, waving enormous inflatable penises greet him saying, “Welcome to California, Tom!”

U.S. Version:

1:20  Tom is being hosted at a men-only Los Angeles pool party. Fully clothed and swimsuit clad hunks mix and mingle in the background. The guys wave and greet Tom with a mix of “Hi,” “Hi, Tom” and “Hello.”

International Version:

1:27  Leather clad Tom reflected in full length mirror as “slave” appears to lick his boots, followed by shot of a dancing leather man.

U.S. Version:

1:36  Leather clad men review Tom’s art hung on gallery wall, followed by a shot of a dancing leather man.

 

International Version:

1:38  Voiceover recites, ““We are the children of beautiful Mother Nature. We are homos, fetishists, women, men, straight and gay all yearning to love.”

U.S. Version:

1:42  Voiceover recites, “We are the children of beautiful Mother Nature. Young men, old couples, straight and gay, all yearning to love.”

 

The U.S. version of the trailer runs approximately 17 seconds longer and features a narrative arc showing the artist leaving his homeland for greater freedom and success in America. Once Tom is in the U.S., we see more of the gay leather scene, albeit fairly mild, than is represented in the international trailer. The international trailer is more concerned with overall freedom of expression and sexual liberation.

Oftentimes, a film distributor will release a “red band,” unrated version of the trailer which contains nudity, “adult situations,” profanity, etc. to generate more social media awareness. We are unsure why the distributor didn’t go this route. Neither the trailer nor the poster contain an MPAA rating. Is this a case of censorship or overly-cautious marketing?

Flagrant has not seen the film. We do not know if any sequences were altered or excised from the U.S. version of the release. See for yourself later this Fall. Tom of Finland opens Friday, Oct. 13 in New York’s The Quad, and a week later on Oct. 20 in Los Angeles at the Nuart, followed by other U.S. dates.

U.S. trailer:

International trailer:

 

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