UniFrance is defending Cuties from what they deem to be the "violent" reactions it recieved in the U.S. Netflix has gotten a lot of criticism for their decision to stream Maïmouna Doucouré's movie. Many have complained about the coming-of-age drama over-sexualizing young girls, which in turn caused quite a few viewers to cancel their subscriptions to the streaming service. The French cinema group has come out to denounce what they call "hate messages, insults, and unfounded speculations about the intent of the director and her producers."
French cinema group UniFrance condemns the backlash surrounding Netflix's Cuties. A petition has even been started to cancel the streaming service. "Over the past several weeks, we have been closely following the exceptionally violent reaction to the film in the United States, during a presidential election campaign in full swing," UniFrance's statement reads. You can read a portion of the cinema group's statement below.
"UniFrance and all of its members wish to pledge their full support to Maïmouna Doucouré and to reaffirm their commitment to supporting the freedom of artistic creation and expression. This is because one of the great strengths of cinema is its capacity to reach beyond borders and boundaries, and to offer a critical and constructive viewpoint on the world and the excesses of today's societies."
Maïmouna Doucouré recently defended Cuties at a Toronto Film Festival panel on French filmmakers sponsored by UniFrance. The director argued that the movie is meant to "sound the alarm" that we need "to protect our children." She also believes that Netflix's original Cuties poster is what caused the initial outrage against her movie. The streaming service put out a poster that showed the young stars in sexually suggestive poses. But as many have pointed out, the image used does come directly from the movie. Cuties was a hit at Sundance and did not receive any backlash upon its premiere at the festival. Many have sense pointed out that Sundance co-founder Sterling Van Wagenen sentenced to six years to life in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a child, which hasn't helped the case against Cuties and its warn reception in Utah.
While many are putting Netflix and Cuties on blast, there are others who have pointed out that the content in the movie is no worse than watching U.S. TV shows like Toddlers in Tiaras or Dance Moms. A lot of the backlash comes from conservative groups, who have labeled the movie as "pedophilia." Much of the backlash has been linked to the QAnon conspiracy and disinformation movement, who believe that Hollywood is run by a mysterious and secretive pedophile ring. As a result of Netflix's marketing, Maïmouna Doucouré has received death threats.
UniFrance went on to state, "Cuties offers a subtle and sophisticated denunciation of the hyper-sexualization of a young generation who translate and reproduce the images that inundate them in their daily lives, particularly via social media." While a lot of people are seeing what Maïmouna Doucouré's intentions were, they are also saying she could have executed it differently as to not actually hyper-sexualize the young actresses in the movie. Whatever the case may be, the backlash doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. You can read UniFrance's statement in full over at The Hollywood Reporter.