“Cuties” filmmaker, Maimouna Doucouré, says that Netflix’s initial marketing campaign opened up the film to a level of criticism that it didn’t receive after its Sundance Film Festival debut in January and that she is fighting “the same fight” as her critics.
Speaking on Monday as part of a virtual 10 Talents to Watch panel hosted by French promotion organization UniFrance, Doucouré highlighted the streaming giant’s early artwork, which depicted the film’s central characters wearing revealing dance outfits and posing provocatively. Netflix, which bought the film out of Sundance, apologized and withdrew the artwork in a report by Varieties.
In her words:
The controversy started with that artwork. The most important [thing] is to watch the film and understand we have the same fight.
After the 96-minute film premiered Sept. 9 on the streaming platform, the hashtag “#CancelNetflix” began trending on Twitter in the U.S., and a Change.org petition was set up, calling on Netflix customers to cancel their subscriptions.
The petition has so far garnered more than 647,000 signatures. It has also drawn condemnation from conservative American political figures including Ted Cruz.
Doucouré, who won the world cinema dramatic directing award at Sundance with “Cuties,” rejected the idea that her film was being attacked due to 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. We need to protect our children. What I want to is to open people’s eyes on this issue and try to fix it. It’s important and necessary to create a debate and find solutions as filmmakers, politicians, and within the educational system.
The movie was released in French theaters by Bac Films on Aug. 19.