Every day, the sun rises and “Mignonnes” receives a volley of criticism. Barely two weeks after its release on Netflix on September 9, the French film continues to ulcerate the American right. So much so that its director, Maïmouna Doucouré, signed a column in the Washington post to defend it, Tuesday, September 15.
“Cuties”, its English title, tells the story of Amy, an 11-year-old girl raised in a conservative Muslim background in France. She gradually frees herself by joining a group of young carefree dancers who attend her school. Conceived as a critique of the sexualization of young girls under pressure from social networks, the film has been sharply criticized for its images deemed inappropriate of the protagonists. In question: scenes of “twerking”, filmed with great reinforcements of close-ups on the bodies of actresses.
The controversy quickly spread among the conservatives. Several Republican senators, including Texas elected representative Ted Cruz, have called for an investigation to be opened with the Department of Justice to determine whether Netflix had violated the rules relating to the production and distribution of child pornographic programs. Attorneys general in four states (Ohio, Texas, Florida and Louisiana) requested, on September 14, that the film be removed from the platform. And Florida Republican elected official Vern Buchanan condemned “Cute” the same day he introduced a bill to ban child-shaped sex dolls.
Critics are also rife outside political circles. As the presidential election approached, “Cuties” gave the conservatives a good excuse to condemn “Cancel Culture” and attack the left, accused of wanting to impose its liberal mores on the rest of society. Several voices in the conservative media galaxy even called on the Obamas, content producers for Netflix, to denounce the film.
Netflix and several Internet users (who say they have seen the film) have stood up for “Mignonnes” since its release. In the American press, the film awarded at Sundance has led some pens to question its message. “Cuties is a straightforward look at what it means to be a pre-teen today. It’s normal that this is too much for some“, Can we read in the Washington Post. The film was the target of a “far-right campaign” for the New Yorker, or became a “fighter in the american culture war”For USA Today. In defense of his work in the Washington post, Maïmouna Doucouré hoped that “Mignonnes” would spark a debate on “sexualization of children in today’s society and that perhaps – even – elected officials, artists and educators could work together to make changes that would benefit future generations“. A dream that seems far away today.