Movie trailers are a great marketing tool and film producers are more than happy to have them making the rounds online. But the trailer for the Netflix-released film “Cuties” (“Mignonnes,” in French) is proving to be an exception. The film, which was written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, has drawn a spate of critical Twitter posts, accusing the filmmaker of sexualizing children, and many of them have incorporated the trailer to advance their case. In response Netflix has sent out dozens of takedown requests resulting in the targeted posts displaying, instead of the trailer, a message that says “media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.”
Defending the film, Doucouré says it’s about a girl from a family that, like hers, came from Senegal to France, and in some ways the story is her own. “I wanted to make a film in the hope of starting a conversation about the sexualization of children,” she says. “The movie has certainly started a debate, though not the one that I intended.” According to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, the film has been misunderstood “uniquely within the United State” and speaks for itself as a coming-of-age film. It has received largely positive reviews, and it won a Global Filmmaking Award at Sundance.