“Cute”, let’s see … – Culture / Next


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Taxed on pedophilia and Islamophobia in Turkey by the audiovisual control body, the French film Cute by Maïmouna Doucouré (released here on August 19) will not be broadcast on Turkish Netflix on September 9. In question, the risk “Expose children to abuse and compromise their psychological development”. We would certainly not have expected anything else from the Erdogan regime, which is accustomed to authoritarian recourse to the service of hygiene of art and thought. If the news calls out, it is as a new echo of an odious controversy which Cute has paid the price very unfairly this summer, including in the most democratic societies.

Sabotage in good standing

Recall that the film describes the dilemma of an 11-year-old schoolgirl of Senegalese origin, torn between the culture of her mother’s Muslim tradition, which imposes modesty on women, and the desire to blend in with a gang of dancers of her own. age with hyper-suggestive choreography (notably the twerk, born in the United States). Earthquake less than a month ago, when Netflix revealed its American poster, where the kids in gala micro-outfits arch lasciviously. A petition in the United States (340,000 signatories to date) demands the withdrawal of the film from the platform, which is beating its ass with Maïmouna Doucouré. Death threats, social media exfiltration, bodyguard. The French association Stop au Porno calls for a demonstration in front of cinemas in Paris. Questions are jostling at the gate of the synapses of Internet users. Is this the sabotage in rule of the first film of a black and promising filmmaker? Have Netflix marketers never taken an image semiology course? In 2020, the Lolita of Nabokov would she twerk?

Sigh and cockroach

On the basis of its sole marketing device, Cute becomes, for his opponents, the emblem of the complacency towards the hyper-sexualization of young girls. Sigh and snarl, to see the cinema more and more banally summoned to pass the subjects which it intends to seize with the scrub brush; otherwise he would risk telling us something interesting – and especially fishy, ​​dirty, disconcerting – about the world we strive to inhabit. Sigh, again, to see how this bad trial was also the wrong target. It is still necessary to have seen the film to realize that, all to its freshness and its tender temperament, Cute only partially practices suspension of judgment. And offers, in its last unequivocal movement, a call to order of the place which should reasonably be that of the little girls of today, with an awkwardness that we can excuse him, but which says a lot about the fate that would have been his if he had refrained from taking sides. Last Thursday, Maïmouna Doucouré spoke about the controversy for the first time with the American site Deadline. The revelation that she made speaks for itself: seduced by the film, the French government showed her a “Extraordinary support” and plan to use Cute as a teaching aid. To your pens.

Sandra Onana


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