Sundance 2022: “Master”

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Systematic racism, unfortunately, is what we all are part of. One way or another, we were treated differently than others – the chosen ones. Diversity and racial tolerance are being heavily promoted in the 21st century, almost like it’s done to fit the new norm. Because it’s cool to respect others or those who don’t belong to our group – the group of whites and privileged. Maybe the abovementioned statement is wrong for many people and does not reflect the reality, but as you watch Mariama Diallo’s “Master”, you get a whole different feeling about it.

Written and directed by Mariama Diallo, “Master” follows three women, Gail Bishop (Regina Hall), who just became a “Master” at the old New England University named Ancaster; a student named Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee) that is about to face the true color of racism; and literature professor Liv Beckman (Amber Gray), who has a sinister past and the truth of herself she holds on to dearly. The stories of the three women are different – they share different views and paths towards their expectations. But what they don’t know is that all three are part of the same journey – fulfilling who they are; fighting for their rights in a white society.

“Master” is a horror film that may remind you of “Get Out” or “Dear White People” but that does not mean it is no better. In fact, “Master” is one of the most interesting films you will see in 2022, that will show you the true color of society and fake diversity that is literally done to please the crowd. And that’s something we can’t escape from nor deny it. Not in the way the film shows. At least what takes place in Diallo`s film, trust me, works well in that heartbreaking context.

The cast of this film is so stellar that literally makes the whole movie work. Regina Hall, hands down – is pure perfection. However, Zoe Renee as the first-year student Jasmine, who tries to fit into the society that does not welcome her is absolutely brilliant. She steals every scene in it. But the most heart-wrenching one is when Hall’s Gail tells her – you do whatever you want, you will never be able to escape from it, implying racism and being discriminated against due to the color of her skin.

That being said, “Master” is an intelligent piece I personally enjoyed watching. Mariama Diallo proved herself to be a visionary filmmaker who recreated the film in a tone dark enough to convey the message. From start to end, the film questions our morality, the society we live in, what it wants from us and what it’s ready to give us in return. It’s a one-way road in the film, showing that there is always a category of people that need to work harder than others to get what comes so easy for the privileged. It’s a sad reality. But that is what this film shows – whatever we do, there’s always someone who will tell u it’s not enough.

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