Director Maïmouna Doucouré defended her film “Cuties” as a “feminist” work.
The film received worldwide backlash this week with Turkey’s government even ordering Netflix to take it down, as the film follows girls aged around 11 dancing in a sexual manner and wearing short clothes.
Some critics called the film ‘child porn’ and thousands of people even quit their Netflix memberships over it and took to social media to voice their complaint.
Speaking on a panel for French filmmakers at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, Doucouré said that she did not make a film intended for pedophiles, but instead wanted to raise awareness about a societal problem.
She called her film ’empowering, feminist and art.’
“It’s because I saw so many things and so many issues around me lived by young girls, that I decided to make this film and sound an alarm and say, ‘We need to protect our children,’” Doucouré said.
“It’s bold, its feminist, but it’s so important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions, for me as an artist, for politicians and parents. It’s a real issue,” she added.
“It’s important to see someone like you on the screen, and to grow up with a lot of possibilities. So, of course, diversity and inclusion have to be the keys to progress in our cinema,” she said.
After a mass exodus from Netflix – with the streaming site airing the film last week – the company’s stock dropped dramatically.
And after Netflix released a poster at the Sundance Film Festival of the film with the girls twerking in a sexual manner the company was forced to apologise.
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for ‘Cuties.’ It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description,” Netflix said in a statement.
Upon the movie’s release last Wednesday, the hashtag #CancelNetflix quickly began trending when clips of the movie revealed that the poster indeed reflected the movie’s content: pre-teen girls dancing sexually.
However, Netflix also defended the film as “a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up – and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
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