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'Cuties' director defends film amid potential US government investigation

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Cuties director Maïmouna Doucouré has defended her Netflix film amid a potential US government investigation.

The film, which won a directing award at Sundance but has been the subject of controversy since its release on September 9, is still at the centre of debates about the sexualisation of children.

  • Read more: ‘Cuties’ review: thoughtful coming-of-age drama caught up in controversy

“It’s because I saw so many things and so many issues around me lived by young girls, that I decided to make this film and sound an alarm and say we need to protect our children,” Doucouré explained at a Toronto International Film Festival panel (per The Hollywood Reporter).

She added: “It’s bold, it’s feminist, but it’s so important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions, for me as an artist, for politicians and parents. It’s a real issue.”

Netflix had defended Cuties in a statement earlier this week, calling it “a social commentary against the sexualization 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.”

Credit: Netflix

Senator Ted Cruz wrote a letter to US Attorney General William Burr on September 11, urging the Department of Justice to investigate the film.

“The video streaming service and content-producer Netflix is currently hosting a film entitled Cuties that sexualizes young girls, including through dance scenes that simulate sexual activities and a scene exposing a minor’s bare breast,” the letter reads.

In a four-star review of the film, NME said, “Doucouré is clearly trying to hold up a mirror here; her film is a powerful exploration of the way young girls are subconsciously encouraged to perform for the male gaze.”

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