NEW TO THEATERS! At a prestigious New England university, Ancaster College, three Black women struggle to find comfort in an environment that is inherently hostile to their existence. Recently instated as Master, a dean of students, Gail Bishop (Reginal Hall) slowly uncovers the school’s mysteries. Literature professor Liv Beckman (Amber Gray) fights for her right to belong among colleagues who just don’t understand her. Then, there’s Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee), a freshman whose early academic excellence is unwelcome by her peers. Separately, these three Black women encounter an unkind presence that will connect them in more ways than one.
“…three Black women struggle to find comfort in an environment that is inherently hostile to their existence.”
Writer/director Mariama Diallo’s debut feature, Master, is an intelligent story that masterfully blends psychological thriller, social analysis, and horror into a narrative about polite hostility and racial microaggressions. This intense film is a commentary on being the only Black person in the room, which when faced with the rude awakening of systemic white supremacy, is a nightmare in itself.
At a glance, Diallo’s script plays like two features. The first is a horror epic about the entity haunting Ancaster College, who puts on an annual hunt for young Black college girls. The second is about a racist institution that refuses to acknowledge its lack of diversity by awarding white mediocrity and unfairly judging Black professors while simultaneously tokenizing their new dean of students. These two stories join forces to tell the undeniably tiring and same truth. This elite University not only flaunts a progressiveness that doesn’t exist, but faculty and students alike actively obstruct the development of Black academics who do.
"…I could feel heart palpitations manifest."