Colour conscious. This is how filmmaker Vic Sarin often refers to the world today in his film Hue: A Matter of Colour. And as he travels around the world to places such as Brazil, the Philippines, India, Tanzania and Jamaica, he demonstrates, without doubt, why the world is not only conscious of skin colour, but also skin shade.
The film cuts effortlessly between the different countries telling the stories of various everyday people who share gripping stories of the abuse and discrimination they have faced as a result of their shade of skin colour.
Sarin shares these stories while seamlessly weaving in his own story, growing up in India, moving to Toronto and then residing in Vancouver with his Caucasian wife, and their bi-racial children. He talks honestly about feeling like an outsider, even when he’s out in the world with his own family, and the desperate need he felt upon arriving in Canada to work twice as hard to prove his worth amongst his fairer skinned peer circle.
Through the personal stories, important realities are examined. One woman in Jamaica talks about growing up as a child, looking up the word Negro in the encyclopedia and being devastated to find a definition that compared her to a second-class citizen. A woman in the Philippines discusses getting into the skin whitening business, a multi-billion dollar industry in Asia, because whiteness is equated to prettiness. And Sarin admits that because of the colourism he experienced growing up in India, he became accepting of racism.
With each country’s beautiful scenery making for stunning visual backdrops, and Sarin’s obvious knack for storytelling, Hue is a worthwhile watch about an incredibly important, yet rarely discussed, issue.
Words By. Priya Ramanujam