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This article argues the prescience of James Baldwin’s The Devil Finds Work, a memoir of Baldwin’s resistances and recognitions of racial codes and their intentions in the cinema. The article traces the ways in which Baldwin’s memoir successfully articulates the tensions between screen space and narrative space in terms of racial messages for selected films. Baldwin’s critique of Fritz Lang’s film You Only Live Once is used in this article to explore racial bias in national cinema industries and the impact of such bias on the construction of collective ethnic spectatorships. Finally, this article posits that the methods used in The Devil Finds Work make it a fitting template for studying the changing trends in post-2005 Parisian banlieues audiences.