Inside Out 2016: Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things

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In the northeastern Canadian territory of Nunavut, homosexuality is a contentious subject. In fact, Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things essentially goes right down the list of homosexual persecution that we have seen, and continue to see, throughout the world. LGBTQ people in Nunavut either keep their sexual orientation secret, leave, or commit suicide. The rhetoric from the local bigots is textbook. The difference is that this culture has not always held these views, but has forcibly adopted them. Hence, Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things reveals how quickly assimilation of a people can erase their long-held ideas from the culture.

The film recounts how the Inuit people in Nunavut were forced to move into permanent communities following World War II. Missionaries translated the bible into a written form of the language, and also taught English and provided healthcare. Along with all of this, a cultural shift occurred where plural marriages and gay relationships were cast as shameful and un-Christian. These anti-gay teachings took hold in the minds of the people and, as a result, many of the residents of Nunavut are still uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality.

Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things illuminates the fight to make the people of Nunavut realize that LGBTQ individuals are not worthy of scorn. The film comprises interviews with residents, activist, and allies, while jumping around between the individual stories. The most intriguing aspect of the film involved the elders reflecting on life before the assimilation – which provides the title to the documentary. Unfortunately, these moments are not developed well, and the overall collection of stories seems haphazard. With more focus, the film could have been a great culture study.