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Thank you for reading and the insightful response

Posted by Dissident on Tuesday, September 22 2020 at 4:24:38PM
In reply to I wonder how much of the controversy was... posted by Butterfly Kisses on Tuesday, September 22 2020 at 2:38:31PM

I wonder if the film would have received the same backlash if they didn't show so many closeups of their butts while dancing. If they had just kept it to widescreen shots. It wouldn't have detracted from the films message so I found it odd that they left it in.

Agreed, but the thing is, it's hard to determine exactly every single intention the director of the film had. All we have to go by on that are her words, and those words are what she had to say in an attempt to blunt the backlash and public criticism, regardless of how much her words may have reflected the truth. And I do believe she did have some intentions, at least, to excoriate both social extremes that the film's main protagonist Amy found herself caught between, as Amy's rejection of both at the end of the film did seem to bear this out.

However, the direction and choreography was clearly designed to emphasize the sexiness of these girls, which clearly made the mainstream audience very uncomfortable. Was this intentional? I obviously do not know for certain, but I cannot see otherwise, since I find it highly unlikely that an intelligent person like the director could not anticipate such a reaction in the current climate, even if she is French. The pedo panic is a powerful social force in the West that satisfies several needs in society: not only to justify suppressing the free expression and political clout of youths (which is growing in the social media era); not only to satisfy the social need to have an Enemy to villify in order to virtue signal and enhance one's own image in the eyes of society; but also to rebel against one's own possible inner shame for finding these girls attractive when mainstream adults consider the very thought to be utterly blasphemous to the conventions of polite society.

They did a good job of showing how both cultures, the French dance scene and the traditional Muslim scene were trying to produce adults out of Amy. Her mother commented several times on how she was a woman now, but of course she can't make her own decisions being a Woman. Neither could a male of that age so I don't get the sexist message that some are trying to push with it.

Well said. I think it was intentional of the director and screenwriter to point out this strange societal dichotomy regarding tweens and young teens in Western culture: they are both young adults and not adults at the same time. This displays the strange situation they find themselves in, of becoming a young adult physically but still having the legal status of a child, which carries over into the public perception of them. They are caught between a rock and a hard place that society acknowledges but simultaneously supports. All of the pseudo-science about "inferior brain development" is put into play to justify this, of course.

Other than that I didn't really like the movie. The girls were out of control and unlikable, the mom was weak and unlikable. It's not the intent of the movie to have likeable characters, but those kind of movies are not what I'm interested in.

Understood. The film had no clear-cut heroes, just a set of protagonists who were immersed in shades of gray. The girls were rebelling against a culture where they are third class citizens during their formative years and denied the type of expression that adults insist is liberating for themselves. This brought out the worst in them in many ways, as they struggled to find their place in a society that contradictory gave them both popularity points and slut-shaming for embracing the expressive style of twerk dancing. Amy had the worst of it since her home life was particularly restrictive. This film did a good job, I think, of pointing out how this contradictory love-hate relationship with sexual expression plays out.

So it's amusing to me that most people that would be attracted to those girls didn't even like the movie. I almost turned it off a few times.

Also agreed. For what it's worth, even though I didn't particularly like these girls as people I did sympathize with them and understand why they behaved that way, particularly main protagonist Amy. I also found it hilarious (if unethical) in an ironic way how in that one scene where the usher tried to kick them out of the theater for sneaking in without paying, they used the pedo panic to their advantage to deter him from simply doing his job and to blackmail him into not enforcing the rules of the theater on them. Whether intentional or not, it showed how the pedo panic can be used by clever girls to manipulate and control adults, particularly men, even when the former are not in the right either legally or ethically.

Overall, the movie had its faults, but I think it had some important points to make, including what the extreme vitriol directed at the film is telling both us and future historians who will study this era.


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