Hue: A Matter of Colour (2013)

Director Vic Sarin has always loved Brazil. To him, it’s a country that boasts every skin colour imaginable, and seeing such an array of colours is a constant comfort for Sarin, who has struggled with his skin tone since his childhood days in India to his life in North America as an adult. In his 2013 documentary, Hue: A Matter of Colour, he takes us around the world to explore colourism and the effects it has on society.

This documentary looks at the historical bias of darker skin, including Africa, Canada, Brazil and the Philippines. Using Rio de Janeiro as a launching point, Sarin travels to Tanzania to visit a school that provides refuge to Black Albino children, threatened because of the pervasiveness of witchcraft in their society. He speaks to Joyce Gladwell, a Black writer living in Elmira, Ontario, who tells of the colour hierarchies in Jamaica, and Philippines skincare mogul Elvie Pineda who vowed to be successful and “white” to conquer her demons due to constant bullying as a dark-skinned child.

The journey from self-loathing to self-love is a long one, especially when societal norms and generational hierarchies are hard to overcome. Each person interviewed reveals the pain they endured because of colourism, delving deep and spurring reflection and ruminations on how society has shaped prejudices due to white supremacy. You’ll take all these accounts to heart, especially Renato, a street cleaner in Rio, who found joy growing up in poverty with music and dance, only to become a sensation as the dancing street sweeper at the 2012 Olympic games. With his work searching for answers, Sarin hopes to open a dialogue to accept those of all hues.

Review by Carolyn Mauricette



Canadian connection

Directed by Vic Sarin
Vic Sarin has had a celebrated career as a director and is also well-known for his cinematography work for films like the 1994 film Whale Music and Margaret’s Museum in 1995.