Tucker Carlson & @HeyTammyBruce Blast Netflix & Our Ruling Class For Making & Promoting Filth Like "Cuties"— The Columbia Bugle ?? (@ColumbiaBugle) September 11, 2020
Tucker: "A sure sign this civilization is in trouble…late Rome for real."
Tammy: "Maybe Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself. Maybe he's working as a consultant." pic.twitter.com/W7zlKj6A4q
Netflix is comfortable with this. Plenty of people will defend it. This is where our culture is at. pic.twitter.com/UlqEmXALmd— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) September 10, 2020
Unless you have been living under a rock this week, you have probably heard about the big conservative uproar against Netflix over the French film Cuties which sexualizes children.
“Cuties,” from French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the world cinema dramatic directing award. The film is based on Doucouré’s short film “Maman(s),” about an 8-year-old child furious when her polygamous dad invites his new bride into their Parisian apartment, which won the short film international fiction jury award at Sundance in 2016.
Per the Sundance description of “Cuties,” the film “nimbly depicts the tweens’ youthful energy and vulnerabilities while exploring their fumbling eagerness to be identified as sexualized. Fathia Youssouf captivates as Amy, shifting like a chameleon between the different identities her character is juggling and deftly anchoring the film’s immensely watchable, vivacious young cast.”
Mary Margaret Olohan, a reporter for conservative publication the Daily Caller, early Thursday tweeted a video clip of the girls in the film dancing suggestively and twerking, commenting, “Netflix is comfortable with this. Plenty of people will defend it. This is where our culture is at.” She added, “I understand this video is upsetting and depicts little girls in a gruesome light. I tweeted it for those who will say that ‘Cuties’ is innocent.” …
According to PTC, the young female actors were trained in highly sexualized dance routines; were given lines with “foul, vulgar language” including f—; and were made to wear revealing clothing. In addition, in one scene, Amy is shown pulling down her underwear to photograph her genitals to post online, after she tries to seduce a man (who is a family member) to get out of trouble for stealing his cell phone.”
“In Wednesday, Netflix releases “Cuties” (“Mignonnes”), the remarkable first feature from the French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré. Unfortunately, the platform’s misleading advertising has given rise to a scurrilous campaign against the film itself. The promotional image, showing young girls in bikini-like clothing dancing in provocative ways, matched with an inaccurate description, has been taken to suggest that the film celebrates children’s sexualized behavior. In fact, the subject of the film is exactly the opposite: it dramatizes the difficulties of growing up female in a sexualized and commercialized media culture. I doubt that the scandal-mongers (who include some well-known figures of the far right) have actually seen “Cuties,” but some elements of the film that weren’t presented in the advertising would surely prove irritating to them: it’s the story of a girl’s outrage at, and defiance of, a patriarchal order. …
“Cuties” is a film of the center, and it’s aesthetically of the center—it depicts the unconsidered without advancing to the realm of the subjective, and it doesn’t allow its young protagonists much discourse, outer or inner. It’s not a movie of introspection and self-consideration; it’s more a story of the rule than of the exception, of what’s unduly extraordinary about the effort to live an ordinary life. As such, it’s a story of French society at large—its exclusions and the exertions demanded to overcome them.”
Rod has a good breakdown of it this morning.
Listen to the interview with Maïmouna Doucouré below.
“Cuties is the story of an 11-year-old little girl who is trying to find herself. She is navigating between two models of femininity. One represents her mother’s traditional origins and the other one is a group of young girls called cuties.”
Cuties is about growing up as a young African woman and being caught between Senegalese and French models of femininity. It is about the life experience of the artist. It is a “deeply feminist film” which uses art and cinema to “change the world” and “end the oppression of women.”
In short, Cuties represents everything we have been exploring here for the past two weeks. Fittingly, it is set in Paris which was ground zero for the emergence of Modernism. How many time-hallowed Modernist themes can you spot in Cuties? There is the rejection of Senegalese religious tradition. There is the autonomy of aesthetics from morality. There is Amy’s quest to “find herself.” There is, of course, experimenting with hyper sexualization and transgression in the name of freedom as cultural liberation. The film is about the life experience and self expression of the artist.
The New Yorker is correct that Cuties is aesthetically “a film of the center” and that it is “a story of French society at large.” The problematic part about it reflects mainstream French culture. If Cuties is a mainstream film that represents the aesthetic center though, what is that center?
Note: Maybe Adolf Hitler had a point about Modernism being degenerate art?