Netflix is dealing with renewed backlash from subscribers and members of Congress after it launched the award-winning French movie “Cuties” on its platform this week.
Some senators are even calling for an investigation into the film, which has been criticized for sexualizing younger ladies.
Right here’s what we all know in regards to the film.
The movie, which was launched as “Mignonnes” in France and received a directing award from the Sundance Institute in February, follows an 11-year-old woman named Amy (Fathia Youssouf) as she tries to search out her place rising up in a poor suburb of Paris. At house, Amy has to please her household, who’re observant Muslims from Senegal, however she finally falls in with a gaggle of mates who’ve their very own dance troupe in defiance of her household’s strict guidelines.
Maïmouna Doucouré, the movie’s director, stated in an interview with Netflix that the film integrated components of her personal childhood in its portrayal of Amy’s struggles between two distinct modes of femininity: one dictated by the standard values of her Senegalese and Muslim upbringing, the opposite by Western society.
“I recreated the little woman who I used to be at that age,” she stated. “Rising up in two cultures is what gave me the energy and the values I’ve at the moment.”
“As a toddler, that query of find out how to grow to be a lady was my obsession,” she added.
Ms. Doucouré has said that the concept for the movie got here to her after she attended a neighborhood gathering in Paris the place she noticed a gaggle of 11-year-olds performing a “very sexual, very sensual” dance. She stated she spent a 12 months and a half doing analysis and assembly with tons of of preteens to organize for the movie.
“I wanted to know the way they felt about their very own femininity in at the moment’s society and the way they handled their self-image at a time when social media is so essential,” she informed Netflix.
The extra sexualized a lady seems on social media, the extra ladies will understand her as profitable, Ms. Doucouré stated.
“Youngsters simply imitate what they see to realize the identical consequence with out understanding the that means,” she stated. “And yeah, it’s harmful.”
Why is the film controversial?
In France, the place the movie was launched in theaters on Aug. 19, “Cuties” didn’t stir a lot controversy.
However in the USA, the hashtag #CancelNetflix has trended on Twitter, with mother and father, politicians and conspiracy theorists calling to take away the movie and even get the Division of Justice concerned. Final month, Netflix apologized for the paintings it created to market “Cuties” to streaming audiences after many criticized it for inappropriately sexualizing the film’s young stars.
Calls to take away the movie have been amplified by supporters of a conspiracy theory that high Democrats and celebrities are behind a world baby trafficking ring.
Reviewers on the Sundance Movie Competition didn’t discover the movie exploitive. “The sight of twerking preteen our bodies is explicitly designed to shock mature audiences right into a contemplation of at the moment’s destruction of innocence,” the movie critic Fionnuala Halligan wrote in Screen Daily.
A spokeswoman for Netflix stated in an announcement that the movie was “a social commentary in opposition to the sexualization of younger youngsters.”
“It’s an award-winning movie and a strong story in regards to the strain younger ladies face on social media and from society extra typically rising up — and we’d encourage anybody who cares about these essential points to observe the film.”
What are politicians saying?
A number of members of Congress have referred to as for the movie to be faraway from Netflix or for a proper investigation.
Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, despatched a letter to Lawyer Basic William P. Barr on Friday asking the Justice Division to research whether or not Netflix, the corporate’s executives or the filmmakers violated federal legal guidelines “in opposition to the manufacturing and distribution of kid pornography.”
Equally, Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, referred to as on the Justice Division to “take swift motion.”
“Like several guardian, I discover @netflix determination to hawk baby pornography disgusting,” Mr. Cotton said on Twitter on Saturday. “And it’s felony.”
However like most of the movie’s detractors, Mr. Cruz has not seen “Cuties,” in line with a spokeswoman.
“In fact he has not watched a film that sexualizes and fetishes younger ladies,” she stated in an announcement on Saturday. “The content material has been extensively reported and isn’t in dispute. There must be completely no place for the filming and distribution of those scenes — whatever the purported goal of the filmmaker.”
Consultant Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a former Democratic presidential candidate, stated on Twitter on Friday that the movie “will definitely whet the urge for food of pedophiles & assist gasoline the kid intercourse trafficking commerce.”
“Netflix, you are actually complicit,” Ms. Gabbard wrote.
Representatives for Mr. Cotton and Ms. Gabbard didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Saturday, and it was not clear whether or not both had seen the movie.
Alex Marshall contributed reporting.