Cuties, or “Mignonnes” as it’s called in the original French, is an award-winning, coming-of-age film about an 11-year-old refugee who joins a hip-hop dance group.
The film, which screened at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, has now found an international streaming home with Netflix.
However, Netflix has already faced criticism for its handling of the film’s marketing, particularly over their original choice of film poster, which appeared to sexualise the young dance-troupe (Cuties is in fact a critique of the hyper-sexualisation of young girls).
Read on for everything you need to know about Cuties/ Mignonnes, including the release date, trailer, and the Netflix backlash.
When is Cuties on Netflix?
The film Cuties will be released on Netflix on 9th September 2020 (excluding subscribers in France).
Cuties poster and Netflix apology
Netflix has apologised for using “inappropriate artwork” for its marketing campaign for Cuties/Mignonnes.
The streaming giant added that the choice to use a sexualised film poster for its marketing campaign was “not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description”.
We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.
— Netflix (@netflix) August 20, 2020
The original artwork for Cuties sparked online anger and controversy, and even a petition demanding that Netflix remove the film from its scheduled releases, and which garnered thousands of signatures.
The petition in question argued that Cuties “sexualises an 11-year-old for the viewing pleasure of paedophiles”.
However, fans of Cuties/Mignonnes have been quick to jump to its defence, arguing that the film is actually critical of sexualising pre-adolescent girls – and that Netflix’s marketing campaign misrepresented the film.
There was no controversy when this film screened to festival audiences, but now it's at the center of an online controversy with tens of thousands of people signing a petition saying the film promotes pedophilia. Because of the way Netflix framed the poster.
— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) August 20, 2020
Director Maimouna Doucouré previously told CineEuropa that the film had been partly inspired by social media, when she realised that “very young girls” who posted “sexy or at least revealed pictures” were gaining online fame.
“Today, the sexier and the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media. And when you’re 11, you don’t really understand all these mechanisms, but you tend to mimic, to do the same thing as others in order to get a similar result,” she said.
“I think it is urgent that we talk about it, that a debate be had on the subject.”
The film follows Amy (played by Fathia Youssouf), an 11-year-old from Senegal who lives with her mother (Maïmouna Gueye) in a poor neighbourhood in Paris, France.
Amy’s family is Muslim and conservative, but Amy herself is enthralled by her neighbour Angelica (Médina El Aidi-Azouni), a young girl of a similar age who is in a hip-hop dance troupe.
You can watch the Netflix trailer for Cuties here.