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Inside Out Reviews Part 2

May 25th, 2016     by Nish Israni     Comments

For more than two decades, Inside Out has brought Toronto’s LGBT community together in celebration of the best queer film from Canada and around the world. The Inside Out Film Festival runs from May 26 to June 5. Tickets for all screenings are $11 for students with ID and $10 for youth under 18. Youth under 25 can attend all weekday screenings before 6:00PM for free. Read Part 1 of our series of reviews.

Still from MAJOR!, courtesy of Inside Out


Director: Annalise Ophelian

2015, USA, 91 minutes

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is the focus of this documentary, a transgender woman of colour activist who has struggled for the rights and freedoms of her trans sisters for decades. This documentary is an intimate portrayal of her life, and the movements she has been part of, such as Stonewall and HIV/AIDS education and prevention, as well as her advocacy for those trans women who are incarcerated. MAJOR! is an ode to Miss Major, one that shows her as the queen mother, bosom buddy, safety net, warrior woman, fashion consultant and goddess extraordinaire to so many LGBTQ folks. Captured on film in charming, endearing and personal narratives, and in interviews with the people that have been touched by her in some way, the documentary pieces together the puzzle that has been Miss Major’s life, as well as gives us an understanding of how her upbringing made her into the woman that she is today. By sharing the individual voices of many trans women of colour alongside statistics that draw a direct link to systemic racism and trans misogyny, the film sheds light on how trans women of colour are disproportionately incarcerated and experience daily violence because of who they are. The focus on valuing each and every single trans woman, especially those of colour, has been an important struggle for Miss Major in which we should all follow suit. This doc is a must-see because MAJOR! is an especially juicy LGBTQ history artifact, one that reveres Miss Major Griffin-Gracy for the precious, fierce and lovely gem that she is and showcases the impact she has had on the world.

Still from Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things, courtesy of Inside Out


Directors: Mark Kenneth Woods and Michael Yerxa

2016, Canada, 71 minutes

The film Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things, by Mark Kenneth Woods is a story about LGBTQ Inuit folks on their journey to acceptance as they struggle to grasp their identity and reclaim their roots amidst societal, religious and racist pressure in Nunavut. The film documents their work to honour and celebrate who they are against the backdrop of the LGBTQ Pride celebration in Nunavut. Setting the tone right from the beginning, with an elder sharing wisdom from the Inuit that speaks to the LGBTQ struggle, this film is a haunting narrative of how LGBTQ rights have been shaped in Nunavut through the pervasive effects of colonialism and Christianity. Recollections about the devastating ways in which these structures were enforced upon the Inuit people are shown against the stark contrast of the harsh land and extreme weather. The camera takes us right into the hearts and homes of those who courageously grapple with the complexity of their identity on a daily basis. These people tell their stories with a vulnerability that can only stem from incredible strength. Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things dispels all of the homophobic myths and stereotypes about “gay Eskimos” and replaces them with images of LGBTQ Inuit not just surviving, but having fun, making out, and living it up.

Tags: art, gender, media savvy, queer

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Inside Out Reviews Part 3 »