People were reportedly drawn to watch new Netflix film Cuties because of the controversy surrounding the movie ahead of its release.
Cuties found itself accused of ‘sexualising young girls’, with some Netflix users threatening to cancel their subscription to the streaming platform and others petitioning for the coming-of-age movie to be removed.
It follows the story of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl, called Amy, living in Paris, who secretly joins a dance group she becomes obsessed with.
The movie won the directing jury award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and had received positive reviews from critics, but as news of its release on Netflix surfaced, it was heavily criticised.
Viewers were left shocked dance moves such as twerking that the girls are seen doing in the film, but Netflix defended movie Cuties – directed by Maïmouna Doucouré and titled Mignonnes in France – insisting it is a ‘social commentary against sexualisation of young children’.
Now, a new study has revealed that people were tempted into watching the film because of its controversy, with more than half of viewers (52%) saying the furore was the ‘only reason’ they tuned in.
For 29% of viewers it was a ‘major reason’ for them wanting to watch.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Search Engine – which is running data on movies debuting on digital platforms amid coronavirus – ran a survey on Cuties to see if viewers agreed with the backlash it received.
While 72% of viewers said they thought the controversy was ‘overblown’ after watching Cuties, 48% ‘strongly agreed’ that the film shouldn’t be on Netflix.
A Netflix spokesperson later responded to calls for viewers to cancel their subscriptions after Cuties made its debut, earlier this month, and #CancelNetflix started trending on Twitter, while a Change.org petition received over 600,000 signatures.
Urging viewers not to judge Cuties until having watched it for themselves, they said: ‘Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualisation of young children.
‘It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up – and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.’
Writer and director Doucouré, meanwhile, has said she views her film Cuties to be a ‘deeply feminist film with an activist message’ that is a ‘difficult mirror of today’s society’.
She was inspired to make the movie after seeing a group of young girls dancing in a way ‘you would see in a video club’ in a neighbourhood gathering in Paris.
‘Our girls see that the more a woman is sexualised on social media, the more she’s successful. ‘And the children just imitate what they see, trying to achieve the same result without understanding the meaning. And yeah, it’s dangerous,’ she said in a six-minute long video.
‘[Amy] believes she can find her freedom through that group of dancers and their hyper-sexualisation. But is that really true freedom? Especially when you are a kid?’ Doucouré questioned.
‘Of course not. Amy will, at the end, realise she can control her own path.’
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Credit: Original article published here.