Hue: A Matter of Colour
PROD Selwyn Jacob, Kim C. Roberts, Tina Pehme
SCR/CAM Vic Sarin
ED Austin Andrews
MUS John Welsman
PROD CO National Film Board of Canada / Sepia Films
How black is black enough? How black is too black? What can you gain from being a light-skinned Indian, and what can you lose from being a dark-skinned one? Vic Sarin’s documentary shines a light on skin colour—not race in itself—as a factor in shame and bigotry. The director takes us around the globe, examining national and ethnic attitudes. Among others, we meet two light-skinned black women, both of whom share their experiences of turmoil; a black Brazilian who fights his own personal struggle against marginalization; a Filipino woman who has built a business providing skin bleaching to her countrywomen; and Tanzanian albinos who face mortal threats due to superstition about their light pigmentation.
Race, politics and personality interact in these peoples’ histories; we hear about how skin tone has influenced them as parents, as spouses, as citizens. There’s a lot of pain here, but also healing—some have achieved it, the rest are trying. Sarin starts from a personal position: as an East Indian transplanted first to Australia and then to Canada, he’s experienced years of insecurity about his colour. The film is an act of catharsis—for himself, for his subjects and, hopefully, for many in the audience.