Video: Blackface Zwarte Piet mystifies Londoners

Zwarte als roet
Sunny Bergman (L), dressed as Zwarte Piet, is confronted by someone in London (still image from Our Colonial Hangover). (Sunny Bergman (L), dressed as Zwarte Piet, is confronted by someone in London (still image from Our Colonial Hangover))

Dutch filmmaker Sunny Bergman was met with stunned looks and stern words from Londoners when she dressed up as Zwarte Piet to gauge reaction to the character abroad. A three-minute clip of her documentary, Our Colonial Hangover, was posted to YouTube featuring the director's day out in blackface.

The documentary will premiere on November 27 at the International Documentary Film-festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

"Our Colonial Hangover analyzes the debate surrounding the racist component of the Dutch Black Pete character," a description of the film reads on the IDFA website. "Is this helper an insulting, racist stereotype, or is he part of an innocent tradition that should not be tampered with?"

The 55-minute documentary, titled Zwart als roet in Dutch, translated to Black as Soot, will be shown on NPO 2 on December 1 at 8:25 p.m.

Bergman shot and directed the film, which was backed by broadcaster VPRO. She worked with producer Margreet Ploegmakers of De Familie Film & TV, and editor Sander Cijsouw.

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