Black Code / Code Noir

Louis Henderson

2015 | 00:20:50 | France / United Kingdom | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Crime or Violence, Race

Black Code / Code Noir unites temporally and geographically disparate elements into a critical reflection on two recent events: the murder of Michael Brown and that of Kajieme Powell by American police officers in 2014. Archaeologically, the film argues that behind this current situation is a sedimented history of slavery, preserved by the Black Code laws of the colonies in the early Americas. These codes have transformed into the algorithms that configure police Big Data and the necropolitical control of African-Americans today. Yet how can we read this in the present? How can we unwrite the sorcery of this code as a hack? Through a historical détournement, the film suggests the Haitian Revolution as the first instance of a hacking of the Black Code and perhaps a symbol for a future hope.

"Henderson connects and translates various image fragments and creates a critical film prism, through which we can observe our own times."

—CPH:DOX "New Visions" (2015)

Pricing Information

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Prizes + Awards

Lucca Film Festival, Lucca, Italy (Best Short Film Award)


Projections, New York Film Festival
New York, NY

Exhibitions + Festivals

10/2015 - Projections, New York Film Festival, New York, USA (World Premiere)

10/2015 - BFI London Film Festival, Londres, England (British National Premiere)

11/2016 - SITUATIONS/Filter, Fotomuseum, Winterthour, Switzerland

11/2015 - CPH :DOX, Copenhagen, Denmark

02/2016 - FOKUS, Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, Denmark

02/2016 - Transmediale Berlin, Germany

03/2016 - Tampere Film Festival, Finland

03/2016 - Cinéma du réel, Hors compétition, Paris, France (French National Premiere)

04/2016 - Lucca Film Festival, Lucca, Italy (Best Short Film Award)

04/2016 - European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück, Germany

04/2016 - Leiden International Short Film Experience, Netherlands

04/2016 - The Eye of the Beholder, (Solo screening) Beursschouwburg, Brussels, Belgium

04/2016 - LFMC 50: The Hands Are Also Hers, British Film Institute, London, UK

05/2016 - Hamburg International Short Film Festival, Hamburg, Germany

05/2016 - Festival Signe de Nuit, Saarbrücken, Germany

06/2016 - Co-op Dialogues 1966-2016: John Akomfrah and Louis Henderson, Tate Britain, London

06/2016 - Kinesis, solo show, Espace Khiasma, Les Lilas, France

06/2016 - The Incantation of the Disquieting Muse, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, Germany

07/2016 - New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw, Poland

08/2016 - Boom Cut Guerilla, Tank Art Space, Marseille

08/2016 - Fuchsbau Festival, Hannover, Germany

09/2016 - Milano Film Festival, Short Film Competition, Milan, Italy

09/2016 - Masafat Festival, Darb 1718, Cairo, Egypt

10/2016 - Signos Da Noite, Lisbon, Portugal

10/2016 - Festival des Cinéma différents et expérimentaux, Paris, France

10/2016 - The Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film, Chapel Hill, USA

10/2016 - Matatu Festival of Stories, Oakland, USA

10/2016 - International Competition, Festival des Cinémas Différents et Expérimentaux, Paris

11/2016 - Black Code Sessions, (solo screening) Akademie der Künste der Welt, Cologne

11/2016 - Ethnographie et Cinéma, Grenoble, France

11/2016 - La Pellicule ensorcelée, Reims et Charleville, France