Maïmouna Doucouré • Director of Cuties

Maïmouna Doucouré • Director of Cuties

– French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré tells us about her function debut, Cuties, awarded at Sundance and Berlin and purchased by Netflix, now touchdown in French cinemas

Recognised with the award for Finest Director within the World Cinema Dramatic part of the Sundance Movie Competition, and with a Particular Point out within the Technology Kplus part in Berlin, Cuties [+see also:
film review
interview: Maïmouna Doucouré
film profile
is the function debut from Maïmouna Doucouré. Dealt with by Bien ou Bien Productions and purchased by Netflix, the movie is launched in French cinemas on 19 August by Bac Movies.

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Cineuropa: How was the thought for Cuties born?
Maïmouna Doucouré : The day I noticed, at a neighbourhood get together, a gaggle of younger ladies aged round 11 years outdated, going up on stage and dancing in a really sensual method whereas sporting very revealing garments. I used to be moderately shocked and I puzzled in the event that they have been conscious of the picture of sexual availability that they have been projecting. Within the viewers, there have been additionally extra conventional moms, a few of them sporting veils: it was an actual tradition shock. I used to be surprised and I believed again to my very own childhood, as a result of I’ve usually requested myself questions on my very own femininity, about evolving between two cultures, about my Senegalese tradition which comes from my mother and father and my western tradition. However I wanted the 2020 model of that youth, so for a yr and a half, I ended teams of younger ladies on the street, generally in colleges or when organisations opened their doorways to me. I recorded them or filmed them after I had their mother and father’ authorisation, and I gathered their tales to seek out out the place they located themselves as kids, as ladies, as future girls; how they positioned themselves in society with their girlfriends, their households, in school, with social networks. All these tales fed into the writing of Cuties.

The movie may be very cautious to not choose the characters.
Sure, as a result of this isn’t a well being & security advert. That is most of all an uncompromising portrait of an 11-year-old lady plunged in a world that imposes a collection of dictates on her. It was essential to not choose these ladies, however most of all to grasp them, to hearken to them, to present them a voice, to take into consideration the complexity of what they’re residing via in society, and all of that in parallel with their childhood which is at all times there, their imaginary, their innocence.

You denounce the affect of social media at that age.
Throughout my analysis, I noticed that each one these younger ladies I’d met have been very uncovered on social media. And with new social codes, the methods of presenting your self change. I noticed that some very younger ladies have been adopted by 400,000 individuals on social media and I attempted to grasp why. There have been no specific causes, apart from the truth that that they had posted attractive or a minimum of revealing footage: that’s what had introduced them this “fame.” Right now, the sexier and the extra objectified a lady is, the extra worth she has within the eyes of social media. And if you’re 11, you don’t actually perceive all these mechanisms, however you are likely to mimic, to do the identical factor as others in an effort to get the same outcome. I believe it’s pressing that we discuss it, {that a} debate be had on the topic.

Whenever you obtained your award in Sundance, you delivered a really highly effective speech on the place of ladies and of variety in cinema.
It needs to be talked about. We all know that there’s a downside, and it isn’t by hiding from it that it’ll go away. We’d like extra fashions, in increased positions. Seeing a lady president, feminine astronauts, feminine engineers: these fashions are indispensable for the development of little ladies, important to open their creativeness. In that regard, I believe cinema has an vital position to play. Nevertheless, I’ve by no means felt extra French than after I was in america. In that nation, I’m only a French director. After all, the query of the place of ladies is mentioned, however the notion of variety isn’t significantly introduced as much as me. However in France, I’ve the sensation that there are sci-fi movies, dramas, comedies, and so forth., and one other style: the “diversity genre”. We should discuss it at the moment in order that issues change, however we are going to solely really be pleased and we are going to solely cease preventing as soon as this “diversity genre” has disappeared. As a result of, for instance, nobody desires to be chosen at a movie pageant out of constructive discrimination. Whether or not you’re a lady or issued from variety, what issues is that your work is absolutely recognised artistically, for what it’s and never for what you characterize.

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(Translated from French)

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