9:33 AM PDT 9/14/2020 by Etan Vlessing
Cuties director Maïmouna Doucoure has defended her French indie film on Netflix from accusations that it hyper-sexualizes pre-pubescent girls, as she argued her directorial debut aimed at social commentary and change.
"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," Doucoure told a TIFF panel on French filmmakers on Monday.
In Cuties, a preteen girl leaves her Senegalese family background to fit in by joining a group of precociously sexualized dancers as tradition and teenage rebellion collide in Doucoure's feature debut.
"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," the director argued.
After its Sundance premiere, Cuties was released by Netflix, which, including with promo materials, led to a backlash from U.S. media and politicians like Senator Ted Cruz.