Controversial film shortlisted to represent France at the Oscars

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Netflix was forced to remove the original footage.

The selection committee for the French Oscars included the controversial film “Cuties” in the list of five films in the running to represent France at the 2021 Oscars.

The film was the source of Netflix’s boycott calls, as the initial marketing campaign on the streaming platform was supposed to sexualize children.

If chosen, the drama, with the original title Mignonnes, would represent France in the International Feature Films category.

It won the Sundance Prize for Maïmouna Doucouré and was well received in France this summer.
However, the online campaign to boycott Netflix for streaming has become one of the trending topics on Twitter.

There were hundreds of thousands of tweets featuring #CancelNetflix when it was released internationally on September 9.
“Cuties” tells the story of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl from a traditional Muslim family living in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Paris with her mother and brothers.

She becomes fascinated by a twerking dance group set up by a group of young people from her neighborhood, who mimic the often very suggestive movements they see of pop stars. Her growing awareness of her femininity upsets her family values.

The images used to promote Cuties drew criticism, prompting Netflix to remove them and apologize for their “inappropriateness.” When it was finally published, there was anger on social media, where many claimed it represented the sexual exploitation of children and was nothing short of child pornography.

Feminist groups have complained about promoting the idea that girls can only be empowered by “shaking their backs” and there have been petitions on Change.org to have them removed from Netflix.

The director, the victim of insults and death threats from people who had not even seen the film, says that far from promoting the sexualization of tweens, her intention was to highlight that women and girls are seen as objects and young people adopt behaviors that are inappropriate for their age.

If the film is chosen to represent France, which seems unlikely, it will surely revive the controversy. The choice will be revealed on November 19.


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