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Cuties: how an unreleased Netflix film whipped up a frenzy of fury | Film

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Yesterday Netflix released promotional artwork and a trailer for a new film called Cuties (Mignonnes, in its original French). It is the feature-length debut by Maïmouna Doucouré, a young film-maker whose short film Mamans won a César award in 2017. The same year, her screenplay for Cuties won Sundance’s global film-making award, allowing her to develop the movie, which would go on to win the directing jury award at this year’s Sundance and get snapped up by Netflix. It’s fair to say, then, that the film was set to land on the platform with a good deal of advance hype.

Unfortunately, Netflix bungled the release. Cuties is, according to its synopsis, about Amy, an 11-year-old Senegalese Muslim, who is torn between the traditional values of her background and a group of rebellious young girls. Accordingly, the artwork selected to accompany previews of the film on Netflix, depicts Amy and other members of the gang in various twerking poses, presumably acting out some kind of routine. The picture is fairly tasteless, featuring the girls in flesh-baring tube tops and sexualised poses, which is what led to the online calls for the film’s cancellation (from people who hadn’t seen it).

Some people who have urged for a touch of common sense. The American actor Tessa Thompson tweeted: “CUTIES is a beautiful film. It gutted me at @sundancefest. It introduces a fresh voice at the helm. She’s a French Senegalese Black woman mining her experiences. The film comments on the hyper-sexualization of preadolescent girls. Disappointed to see the current discourse.” An article by Caz Armstrong yesterday made a similar argument: “The audience is confronted by sexualised dance moves from 11-year old characters and we are forced to consider a world which encourages women and girls to act in that way.”

At time of writing, the change.org petition to remove the film from Netflix (whose caption reads: “This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children! There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content!”) has racked up more than 150,000 signatures. In the process, a black female first-time director has had her reputation run into the mud.

It’s worth noting that not all the reviews of Cuties, following its premiere at Sundance, were wholly positive. Amy Nicholson, writing for Variety, thought the film presented a “false choice” between its two universes and Kate Erbland in Indiewire found the film “moving and relatable” before becoming too contrived and sensational. But these are valid, considered criticisms based on the film itself.

It’s too obvious, and not quite correct, to state that the outrage machine has claimed another victim. Cuties will be released with new artwork, perhaps even with something of a publicity boost. Either way, this episode shows the damaging impact that the manipulation of words and imagery can have on the internet. As culture makes the journey online, it stands to suffer just as much as politics if people are not able to read pictures, seek information and recognise disingenuous arguments.

Netflix has now apologised for its “inappropriate artwork”, which it says was “not OK, nor was it representative of this film”. That is unlikely to satisfy many of the petitioners, who will not have looked further into this issue – but is perhaps a step at least towards setting the movie back on its previous course.

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Are These Movie Guys Hotter Than The Actors Who Play Them?

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Here’s the deal: Below are 15 objectively very attractive men. It’s your job to determine if you think the iconic characters they play are even hotter than the actual actor. We’re not just talking about looks here, either. Take a moment to really think about these guys’ character traits, mannerisms, and overall vibes too.


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Haunting Of Bly Manor Behind-The-Scenes Photos

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This post is basically me saying “Riddikulus” to the dementor that is Haunting of Bly Manor.

The Haunting of Bly Manor came out a couple weeks ago…and honestly, I have not been the same since.


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It’s wonderful and heartbreaking, but mostly TERRIFYINGLY CREEPY.

I’m a HUGE scaredy cat (but I loved Hill House, so I just HAD to watch this one!), so this show honestly gave me nightmares.

But it’s important to remember this is just a (albeit VERY well-acted) TV show. To prove it, here are 21 behind-the-scenes photos of the cast goofing around and having a great time!

1.

This photo of Amelia Eve (who plays Jamie) and Rahul Kohli (who plays Owen) reminding us that they’re just REALLY good actors:

2.

This hilarious video of T’Nia Miller (who plays Hannah) dancing and singing “Don’t Cha” while wearing corpse makeup.

3.

These photos of Amelia, Rahul, T’Nia, and Tahirah Sharif (who plays Rebecca) having the best time in the kitchen:

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And this photo of the same crew either filming or partying it up — I can’t tell, but they look happy:

5.

These super-cute photos of Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (who plays Miles) and Amelie Bea Smith (who plays Flora) actually looking happy for once:

6.

I think they might be BFFs:

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Like, seriously! They seem to do everything together:

8.

This playful photo of Rahul and the Lady of the Lake (played by Daniela Dib) that takes away a bit of the creepiness of the ghosts:

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And this photo Amelia posted of her in a ghost mask doing a dance:

10.

These photos from Rebecca’s final day, including her descent into the lake:

11.

These photos of the gang doing an escape room together:

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And these photos of them celebrating the holidays:

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These photos of Benjamin and Amelie with Victoria Pedretti (who plays Dani), showing there’s no hard feelings:

14.

These adorable Polaroids, which proves that Jamie and Dani got that drink after all:

15.

These behind-the-scenes photos that remind us that these are just ACTORS on a SET and not real people in a haunted house:

16.

This super-cute photo of Amelia, Victoria, and Rahul cuddled up together, proving they’re just as close as their onscreen characters:

17.

These photos of T’Nia, Amelia, and Benjamin that prove the set was far from dark and bleak:

18.

And this absolutely splendid photo of Amelie outside her dressing room!

19.

This wonderful video of T’Nia and Victoria singing and dancing to “Come on Eileen” on a party bus:

20.

This selfie of Rahul and Benjamin, two of the breakout stars:

21.

And finally, this dazzling photo of Carla Gugino with her gorgeous hair for the role:

See — not so scary now, right? Here’s hoping this will help me sleep tonight.

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If You've Seen 0/27 Of These TV Shows, You Are 100% An Adult

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How tuned-in are you to the youths?


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