Furcy, le procès de la liberté (Furcy, the trial for freedom)


Year: 2021
Director: Pierre Lane
Nationality: France
Duration: 52 minutes
Category: Historical documentary


Synopsis: At the start of the 19th century, Reunion island, at the time called Bourbon island, was the setting for an incredible event. On 9th November 1817, the public prosecutor Gilbert Boucher was presented with a new case. He had no idea of the uproar it would cause. Furcy, a slave living on Bourbon island, asked to be recognised as a man who had been ‘born free’. Furcy’s claim marked the start of an extraordinary legal process. The documentary narrates the incredible story of the combat led by this man, lasting almost 30 years, aimed at recognition by the highest courts of the kingdom of France of his status as a free man. Through the story of this extraordinary person, the film presents us with the multifaceted history of slavery, as well as exploring the universal desire to be recognised as human.


Les routes de l’esclavage (The slave routes)


Year: 2018
Directors: Daniel Cattier, Juan Gélas, Fanny Glissant
Nationality: France
Duration: 208 minutes
Category: Documentary in 4 episodes


Synopsis: The history of slavery did not begin in the cotton fields. It is a tragedy dating back much further, existing since the dawn of humanity.
For the first time, the series follows the history of the slave trade from the 7th to the 19th centuries. It gives an account of a world where the slave trade marked out territories and its own frontiers, a world where violence, domination and profit were responsible for creating trade routes.


Madame Desbassayns. Mythe et Réalité d’une icône de l’esclavage (Madame Desbassayns, myth and reality of an icon of slavery)

Year: 2015
Director: William Cally with the collaboration of Sudel Fuma
Nationality: France-Reunion
Duration: 1h 20mn
Category: Documentary-fiction


Synopsis: Hombeline Gonneau Montbrun was married to 40-year-old Henri-Paulin Panon Desbassayns a short time before her 15th birthday. The young Creole girl was to have an exceptional life story, finding herself at the head of the most powerful family of landowners on Bourbon island and in charge of hundreds of slaves. Her long life led to a true myth being woven around her person. Still today, she remains an icon in the popular imagination, her name surrounded by an aura that remains ambiguous, to say the least. While colonial documents refer to her as ‘Second Providence’, the nickname given to her by history, it actually turns out that oral accounts represent her as being an incarnation of evil and a true representation of the atrocities of slavery.


The Birth of a Nation


Year: 2016
Director: Nate Parker
Nationality: United States
Duration: 2 hours
Category: Biopic – Historical Drama


Synopsis: The Birth of a nation traces the life of Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher. His owner, Samuel Turner, struggling with financial difficulties, accepts an offer to take advantage of Nat’s preaching to subdue undisciplined slaves. Witnessing a large number of atrocities – committed against him, as well as against his fellow slaves – Nat organises an uprising in the hope of leading his people to freedom.




Year: 2014
Director: Amma Asante
Nationality: Great Britain
Duration: 1h 44mn
Category: Historical Drama


Synopsis: In 18th-century England, Dido Elizabeth Belle, of mixed race, the illegitimate daughter of a Royal Navy admiral, is brought up by her aristocratic great uncle, Lord Mansfield, and his wife. Dido has the benefit of a number of privileges, but the colour of her skin makes it impossible for her to participate in activities common to other young girls of her social class. She soon falls in love with a young lawyer who dreams of changing the world. The two of them lead Lord Mansfield, President of the High Court in England, to put an end to slavery in their country




Year: 2013
Director: Steven Spielberg
Nationality: United States
Duration: 2h 29mn
Category: Biopic – Drama


Synopsis: The final troubled months of the term of office of the 16th President of the United States. With the nation divided by the Civil War and destabilised by the wind of change, Abraham Lincoln does everything in his power to solve the conflict, unify the country and abolish slavery. Lincoln, with his exceptional determination and moral courage, will have to make choices that will completely disrupt the destinies of future generations.


12 years a slave


Year: 2013
Director: Steve McQueen
Nationality: United States
Duration: 2h 13mn
Category: Historical Drama


Synopsis: The United States, a few years before the American Civil War.
Solomon Northup, a young black man from the state of New York, is kidnapped and sold as a slave. In the face of the cruelty practised by the owner of the cotton plantation, Solomon struggles to remain alive and retain his dignity.


Django Unchained


Year: 2012
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Nationality: United States
Duration: 2h 44mn
Category: Western


Synopsis: In the south of the United States, two years before the Civil War, Dr King Schultz, a bounty hunter from Germany, acquires Django, a slave who can help him track down the Brittle brothers, the killers he is in search of. Schultz promises Django to grant him freedom once he captures the brothers, dead or alive.
While the two men are stalking the dangerous criminals, Django never forgets that his sole purpose is to find Broomhilda, his wife, who was separated from him through the slave trade.
When Django and Schultz arrive at the huge plantation belonging to the powerful Calvin Candie, they arouse the suspicions of Stephen, a slave who serves Candie and benefits from all his master’s trust. Their least movements are now closely followed by a dangerous organisation that is closing in on them. If Django and Schultz want to have a chance of escaping with Broomhilda, they will have to choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival.


Ne suis-je pas ton frère ? : la société des amis des noirs 1788-1794 (Aren’t I your brother? : The Society of Friends of the Blacks 1788-1794)

Year: 2010
Director: Didier Roten
Nationality: France
Duration: 52 minutes
Category: Documentary


Synopsis: The founders of the first French Abolitionist Society, la Société des Amis des Noirs, set up in Paris in 1788, were called Brissot, Mirabeau and Clavière. While their debates already reflected the ambiguous character of the relationship between the French Republic and colonisation, they also demonstrated the greatness of the struggle they had undertaken, going against the ideas of their time and against the slave trade. ‘Am I not your brother?’ was their slogan. Their history plunges us deep into the social and political climate of the early hours of the French Revolution, between the free coloureds requesting their liberty and the uprising of the slaves, at the heart of the Abolitionist struggle of yesterday and the duty of memory today.


La liberté générale : chroniques de la première abolition de l’esclavage 1794-1802 (General freedom: chronicles of the first abolition of slavery 1794-1802)

Year: 2010
Director: Didier Roten
Nationality: France
Duration: 52 minutes
Category: Documentary


Synopsis: What were the events which took place between the first abolition of slavery in France, decreed by the Government of la Convention in 1794 and resulting from the two-sided pressure of the slave uprisings and invasion by the British, and the reestablishment of slavery by Bonaparte in 1802? How was the general freedom which was proclaimed, giving a universal character to the Declaration of Human Rights, applied on a concrete level in the colonies concerned: Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe and French Guyana, but also in the slave trading ports and in the circles of economic and revolutionary power? For many former slaves, forced labour soon replaced slave labour and the general freedom was not expressed as absolute freedom, even though the elements of true progress marked this short and little-known period of history.


Vers la seconde abolition de l’esclavage dans les colonies françaises 1802-1848 (Towards the second abolition of slavery in the French colonies 1802-1848)

Year: 2010
Director: François Vivier
Nationality: France
Duration: 52 minutes
Category: Documentary


Synopsis: How did the Abolitionist movement manage to rise from its ashes after the shock of re-establishment of slavery in 1802 by Bonaparte and following the independence of Haiti? The British gave momentum to the movement when they declared the slave trade to be illegal in 1807 and abolished slavery in 1833. In France, it was not until 1821 that the ‘Société de la morale chrétienne’ (Society for Christian morals) and its ‘Comité pour l’abolition de la traite’ (Committee for the abolition of the slave trade), marked the return of the struggle for emancipation. A number of voices can be heard, guiding us through these dark years, the voices of Abbé Grégoire, Cyrille Bissette and Victor Schoelcher.


Case départ (Starting point)

Year: 2011
Directors: Lionel Steketee, Fabrice Eboué and Thomas N’Gijol
Nationality: France
Duration: 1h 34mn
Category: Comedy


Synopsis: Joël and Régis are half-brothers, with the same Caribbean father whom they hardly know. As he is dying, the two brothers, who are very different, go to see him. After his death, the only thing they inherit from him is the decree that freed their enslaved ancestors. The two men, not understanding the highly symbolic value of this document, stupidly tear it up. An old aunt decides to punish them and casts a spell that sends them back to the year 1780. Having become slaves, Joël and Régis have to find a way to escape and come back to the modern period, but they have also acquired an awareness of the importance of the struggle led by their ancestors.


Amazing grace


Year: 2007
Director: Michael Apted
Nationality: United States – Great Britain
Duration: 1h 58mn
Category: Historical Drama


Synopsis: In 1782, after being lobbied, the young member of Parliament William Wilberforce decides to abolish the slave trade in Great Britain. Despite the unpopularity of the measure in the House of Commons, he continues his combat until his poor health forces him to focus solely on his evangelising activities. 15 years later, he marries Barbara Spooner, a woman motivated by the same desire for justice, who encourages him to take up the struggle once more.




Year: 2004
Director: Lars von Trier
Nationality: Denmark
Duration: 2h 19mn
Category: Drama


Synopsis: The film narrates the strange story of Manderlay, an isolated estate in the American deep South. In 1933, Grace and her father leave the small community of Dogville, moving away to return to their home.
Unfortunately, in the world of gangsters, absence often leads to important problems. Thanks to her father and his army of thugs, they have to retreat. Chased out of their former territory, they spend the entire winter unsuccessfully seeking out new hunting grounds. In the first month of spring, they make their way south with the aim of finding a residence where they can at last settle.


Le passage du milieu (The Middle Passage)


Year: 1999
Director: Guy Deslauriers
Nationality: France-Martinique
Duration: 85 minutes
Category: Historical Drama


Synopsis: 1810. A slave ship sails out of Senegal on the West Coast of Africa. Hundreds of captives, men, women and children taken by force out of their villages, find themselves chained up in the ship’s hull for the voyage to America, set to last six to eight weeks. In actual fact, the voyage will take 18 weeks. During these long weeks of sailing across the open seas, the future slaves will encounter disasters, despair and heroism. The voyage is described by one man travelling in the hull, an anonymous African, transported with his brothers in misfortune. Through his eyes, we see what nobody has ever related. He is at the heart of the rebellion, experiencing the highest hopes and the deepest despair.




Year: 1999
Director: Jonathan Demme
Nationality: United States
Duration: 2h 45mn
Category: Drama


Synopsis: Ohio 1873. Sethe, a former slave, has paid heavily for gaining her freedom. Abandoned by her husband, she brings up her daughter Denver alone. One day, she receives a visit from a former companion of misfortune, Paul D., who wishes to share her life. Sethe accepts to do so for a trial period, in the hope that he will replace the father that her daughter has never known. A few days later, the couple sees a strange creature rising up out of the marshes, hardly able to pronounce her name: Beloved. Sethe thinks she recognises the baby that she sacrificed 18 years earlier and decides to adopt her.




Year: 1997
Director: Steven Spielberg
Nationality: United States
Duration: 2h 28mn
Category: Historical Drama


Synopsis: En 1839, the Amistad, a Spanish ship sailing with African slaves on board, encounters a violent storm off the coast of Cuba. Fifty or so prisoners manage to break their chains and turn against their torturers, shooting them dead. Cinqué, their leader, forces the ship’s captain to take them back to the coast of Africa, but the latter, taking advantage of Cinqué’s ignorance, sails the ship to America. Thrown in prison, the mutineers are defended by two fervent abolitionists, Theodore Joadson and Lewis Tappan, who take on a young lawyer, Roger Baldwin, to defend them.




Year: 1995
Director: Haile Gerima
Nationality: Ghana
Duration: 1h 50mn
Category: Comic drama


Synopsis: Mona, a modern-day model, is possessed by the spirit haunting the castle on the Cape Coast in Ghana. She travels back in time where, taking on the identity of the slave Shola, she becomes her master’s victim. The film won first prize at the Milan African Film Festival.




Year: 1989
Director: Edward Zwick
Nationality: United States
Duration: 2h 02mn
Category: Drama – War – Historical


Synopsis: 1863. The American Civil War is raging in the United States. Young Robert Gould Shaw is promoted colonel in the first regiment of black soldiers, volunteers who have signed up for a war they believe to be theirs. They are wrong. Assigned to carrying out minor tasks and scorned by their officers, they decide to rebel, with Shaw as their leader, and leave for the front. Volunteering to take part in the assault of the impregnable Fort Wagner, the heroes pay a heavy price for regaining their dignity.


Cobra Verde


Year: 1987
Director: Werner Herzog
Nationality: Germany
Duration : 1h 50mn
Category: Adventure – Drama


Synopsis: After losing his whole herd of cattle due to a drought, Francisco Manoel leaves the Sertao in Brazil and becomes an outlaw calling himself Cobra Verde. He works as a bursar for a plantation owner and the latter sends him to Dahomey to sail back with a convoy of slaves. In actual fact, it is to get rid of him, as the local sovereign pitilessly exterminate all whites coming onto his lands.


Sugar-Cane Alley


Year: 1983
Director: Euzhan Palcy
Nationality: France-Martinique
Duration: 1h43mn
Category: Comic drama


Synopsis: 1930. In the middle of a huge plantation, Sugar-Cane Alley: two rows of wooden huts deserted by the adults, all gone to work in the sugar fields. The street belongs to the children, in particular José, an eleven-year-old orphan brought up by his grandmother, M’an Tine, who dreams of seeing her grandson educated. But for this to happen, they will have to leave Sugar-Cane Alley.




Year: 1977
Directors: Marvin J. Chomsky, John Erman, Gilbert Moses
Nationality: United States
Duration: 70 minutes
Category: TV Series – Historical Drama


Synopsis: Adopted from a novel by Alex Haley, this mini series follows several generations of a family of Afro-American slaves, against a backdrop of the important founding events of the United States.




Year: 1975
Director: Richard Fleischer
Nationality: United States
Duration: 2h 07mn
Category: Action – Drama


Synopsis: In the south of the United States in 1840. At the head of a large plantation, Maxwell, a rich old man wishing to perpetuate his dynasty, forces his son Hammond to marry his cousin Blanche. But Hammond scorns her when he learns that she is no longer a virgin. Blanche takes solace in the arms of the powerful Mandingue. At the same time, the slaves on the plantation organise a rebellion.




Year: 1960
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Nationality: United States
Duration: 3h 18mn
Category: Historical – War – Romantic – Biopic


Synopsis: Italy, 73 BC. Spartacus, a slave who has become gladiator, has his life spared by one of his fellow gladiators during a fight to the death. This event stirs up in him the desire for rebellion. After breaking out of his chains, he encourages the other slaves to follow suit. Soon finding himself at the head of a huge army, Spartacus plans to head towards the port of Brides in the south of the country and put out to sea on board Sicilian vessels. However, his plans arouse the anger of the Romans and the Empire send its legions in pursuit of the rebellious slaves.


Gone with the Wind


Year: 1939
Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor et Sam Wood
Nationality: United States
Duration: 3h 58mn
Category: Drama – Romance


Synopsis: In Georgia in 1861, Scarlett O’Hara is a proud and determined young woman belonging to the high society of the south of the United States. Courted by all the local rich young men, she has eyes only for Ashley Wilkes, even though he is already engaged to the gentle and shy Melanie Hamilton. However, Scarlett determines to make him change his mind, but at the reception given at Twelve Oaks, it is the cynical Rhett Butler who notices her.

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