Brazilian government calls for halt to “Cuties” screenings, Netflix probe

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- The Jair Bolsonaro administration on Monday called for a halt to local screenings of the French film “Mignonnes” (“Cuties”) and for an investigation into Netflix for allegedly offering “child pornography” and a film with scenes “simulating sexual practices” to the public.

“Boys, girls and teens are the nation’s most precious and most vulnerable asset. It’s of interest to all of us to stop any content that puts children at risk or exposes them to early eroticization. The government of President Jair Bolsonaro will not halt in this fight,” said evangelical pastor and the minister of Women, the Family and Human Rights, Damares Alvez, in a statement.

Known as “Cuties” in the English-speaking world and recently arriving at movie theaters in Brazil, the film tells the story of an 11-year-old Muslim girl who goes to live in France with her family and struggles against her culture’s traditions and the modernity offered via the Internet. In her new home, she meets two other teen girls with whom she forms a dance group.

During the film the hypersexuality of the teens is clearly portrayed but there are no scenes with explicit sex, whether real or simulated, and the private parts of the minors are not shown.

In a letter sent to the Coordinator of the Permanent Committee on Childhood and Youth (COPEIJ), the Ministry said that although the film shows “the development of sexual identity” it could lead “to the normalization of child hypersexuality.”

“The film presents child pornography and multiple scenes that focus on the intimate parts of the girls while they perform erotic movements while dancing, contorting themselves and simulating sexual activities,” said the document signed by Mauricio Cunha, the national secretary for the rights of Children and Teenagers (SNDCA), as cited in the statement.

In the missive, the government also says that the film contains a “clear feedback for the lechery of people who feel sexually attracted to children and teenagers, as well as a clear advertisement for the child pornography industry.”

In addition to suspending the screening of the film in Brazil, the governments wants to determine who bears “the responsibility for advertising and distributing pornographic content involving children,” thus the call for a probe of Netflix.

According to Brazilian law, “selling or exposing for sale video or other media containing a pornographic scene that involves children and teenagers” is a crime that can be punished with between four and eight years in prison, as per the Childhood and Adolescence Law.

The film, which won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, was directed by French moviemaker and screenwriter Maimouna Doucoure and stars Fathia Youssouf, along with teens Medina El Aidi-Azouni and Maimouna Gueye.

The discomfort of Minister Alvez regarding the film has been public knowledge since last week when she protested it, calling it “abominable.”

“I’m angry, Brazil! I’m very angry! A production like this is abominable. Girls in erotic positions and dressed as adult dancers,” she wrote on her Facebook profile.

“I want to make clear that we’re not going to make concessions to anything that eroticizes or normalizes pedophilia! I want to take advantage of this and send a message to pedophiles who have abused our children for years: In Brazil there is a government that really is concerned with protecting boys, girls and families,” she added.

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