Hue: A Matter of Colour is Vic Sarin’s personal exploration of the prejudices around skin colour and shadeism around the world.
The documentary focuses on individuals struggling with prejudice around skin colour in several countries, from the Philippines, South Africa and India, to Brazil and Tanzania. We meet people like Elvie Pineda, a skin whitening mogul in the Philippines; South African nun and crusader Eva Abrahams; the albino children of Tanzania; and Olympic ambassador Renato Sorriso, a sweeper in Rio. All offer a human face to the rejection and pain associated with colour bias. Pineda’s story was particularly interesting. She shares how she started a million-dollar skin whitening company to combat her own childhood pain at being called dark, and uses her company to “help” other women. We don’t often see people like Pineda being so candid about their business model and personal reasons for creating such products, and it makes for a problematic but interesting watch.
Filmmaker Vic Sarin’s (Partition, Murder Unveiled) analysis doesn’t go beyond the purely humanist level and dismisses the colonial and social roots of shadeism and colour bias, which makes the documentary seem to just touch the subject matter on the surface. Nevertheless, we recommend watching the documentary for some new insights into this issues, particularly as the Dark is Beautiful campaign in India continues to grow.
Story By: Rumnique Nannar | Photography Courtesy: VIFF/NFB