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Menthol, een neger in Hengelo

Short documentary, 2009, 54 min.

In the 1920s, Joseph Sylvester, a.k.a. Menthol, was the first black man in Hengelo. On top, he married Anna Marie 'Roosje' Borchert, considered by many the most beautiful girl in town, in one of the first mixed marriages in the Netherlands. Sylvester derived his nickname from his trade. As a vendor, he hawked his own brand of toothpaste Babajaba across the country, thus teaching the Dutch peasants how to brush their teeth. Until he settled in Hengelo with Roosje, that is. Arno Kranenborg's documentary tells Sylvester's life story from the perspective of the local population, who in café De Elsmös reminisce about 'their' Menthol, on the basis of the photo album he left. It is held in trust by landlord Frans Tanke and his wife Rita. As their son does not want to take over the business, they are forced to sell it - including the collected assets that contain the Menthol collection. So, Sylvester's story is coloured by a farewell of the past it belongs to.






Cinematographer - DoP


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