Cuties creator and director Maimouna Doucouré says she’s fighting “the same fight” as critics of the film.
The film Cuties which appeared on Netflix on Sept. 9, is creating a lot of drama and conversation. The movie details the life of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl in Paris who escapes the dysfunction of her family by joining a girl dance group. The film features scenes of the girl and other young girls dancing to sexual choreography, doing inappropriate favors for adults, and using vulgar language.
Since the film’s promotion to its airing, people have voiced their issues with it. The streaming service and Doucouré have both come forward and said the film’s purpose is to address the over-sexualization of children. Still, critics say that the film defeats its purpose because it does just that in order to get its point across. During a virtual 10 Talents to Watch panel, Doucouré said the film’s controversy started with Netflix’s marketing. “The controversy started with that artwork… The most important [thing] is to watch the film and understand we have the same fight,” said Doucouré.
Since its debut on the streaming platform, thousands have rallied together and created a petition calling for the boycott of Netflix. The petition is on Change.org and has garnered more than 647,000 signatures. However, Doucouré said she believes that the film’s backlash isn’t because of cultural differences between American and European audiences. “I thought the film would be accepted. It played to Sundance and was watched by American people there; I met the public there, and they really saw that the film is about a universal issue. It’s not about French society — the hyper-sexualization of children happens through social media, and social media is everywhere. People [at Sundance] agreed with that,” said Doucouré.
“We need to protect our children. What I want to is to open people’s eyes on this issue and try to fix it,” said the filmmaker, adding that it’s “important and necessary to create a debate and find solutions as filmmakers, politicians, and within the educational system.”