Hue, by renowned director and cinematographer Vic Sarin, is a personal, heartfelt investigation into the history and often tragic effects of colourism, the phenomenon whereby people within the same ethnic group discriminate against each other based on differences in skin tone. Sarin travels to countries in Asia, South America, the Caribbean, South Asia and Africa to discuss this complex cross-cultural social issue with individuals whose lives it affects, including a Filipina entrepreneur whose business has flourished within the billion-dollar skin-whitening industry. Hue leads viewers on a thoughtful and surprising journey to the heart of an insidious social issue that is anything but black and white.
Hue: A film that sheds little light on the concept of lightness
This film may have had strong intentions to raise awareness about colorism, prejudice based on skin color within/between racial groups, however, I believe it fell short of that aim. The interviews that spanned across many difficult national boundaries were incredibly compelling, but the film did little to no justice to these individual experiences. Instead it was a dry cut and pasting of emotional stories awkwardly juxtaposed with the director's family vacation to Brazil and his own experiences dealing with colorism. The personal is always political, so if the aim of the film was to only showcase personal stories, then maybe it succeeded. If the aim was to start meaningful dialogue among people of color to help tackle the nuances of this prejudice, then this did very little for me. To honor people's experiences and start necessary conversations, the director should have spent significant time on contextualizing these stories in a broader setting that explained what is actually happening. Also, the comparative study was poorly managed and while the experiences of albinism in Tanzania were certainly compelling, their relationship to colorism was completely glossed over and in the end, did not make much sense. "Hue" was a film presented as an exposé of sensationalist stories for a white audience and can have the dangerous impact of enabling folks to think there is a sharp distinction between racism and colorism and that colorism is something inherent within people and their cultures. It is not inherent in people, it came out of somewhere, and just by focusing on the "personal" we forget how much the "political" plays a role in allowing this to exist in the first place. I was expecting so much from this film and I was utterly disappointed.
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