Director : Daniel Etim Effiong
Producer : Beverly Naya
Featuring : Beverly Naya, Hilda Dokubo, Dianne Yekini, Eku Edewor and Bobrisky
Score: Ré Olunaga
Cinematographer: Muhammed Attah
Release Date: July 10, 2020 (Netflix)
Genre : Documentary
Awesome-O-Metre : 4.5/10
REVUE OF SKIN
Skin is a feature documentary about exploring through identity the meaning of beauty in all the different shades of black. It is set in present day Lagos, where Nollywood actress Beverly Naya goes on a journey to learn about contrasting perceptions of beauty.
Beverly Naya won the AMVCA (2020) award for this documentary and rightly so. This documentary is so relevant today’s Nigeria where a lot of women are lightening (bleaching) their skin. I liked how Beverly tackled the subject from the perspective of people who bleach and my best interview will be that of Bobrisky who clearly stated his reasons for bleaching and his regrets. Also, the producers spoke to people who manufacture skin bleaching creams and delved into the ingredients required to make these harmful products.
One thing that stood out in Skin is the beauty of the shots. There were many well-crafted drone aerial shots. Muhammed Attah (the cinematographer) really went out on this one. The score featured a slow jazz saxophone which was so mellow and gave the documentary and smooth feel. Kudos to Re Olunaga for that piece of work.
However, I feel that Skin lacked depth as it didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t already know. Documentaries are expository in nature and to that extent, Skin fails to expose us to new information. I expected more scientific perspectives to this social anomaly by talking to even more dermatologists about the side effects of bleaching and maybe even review some academic works or research papers on the topic. I also expected more discussions around the economic impact of skin bleaching but there was simply no tangible data being made available to us. Furthermore, the producers shouldn’t have stopped at interviewing local manufacturers of skin bleaching products, but they should have reached out to the bigger international cosmetic giants like Nivea for instance who have a range of “skin lightening” products.
Apart from the lack of in-depth research involved in the making of this documentary, the producers also padded the runtime by going on a frolic (coming of age) mission to Beverly Naya’s Nigerian roots. In my opinion, this aspect of the film is irrelevant despite the attempts to connect it to the issue at hand and I feel it was basically an image promoting endeavor for Beverly Naya.
Skin is a socially relevant documentary about the malaise of skin bleaching/lightening/toning shot with beautiful cinematography to belie its lack of depth. Skin is presently streaming on Netflix so if you do get to see it, please do leave a comment in the comment section below or on my Twitter or Facebook page and let me know what you think about it or if you just want to talk about anything film.