Cinema Culture War, Again

20th Century Culture War 

My first job, working a multiplex movie theater with 8 cinemas. I got to see movies for free. Invite friends and have popcorn. The Culture Wars of the Reagan Years were happening. Of course it  reached my city and the theater I worked that summer.  Martin Scorsese made “The Last Temptation of Christ”. What a controversy!  “Hollywood, those “movie liberals” needed to get struck down by God” were comments.  Main Southern Newspapers called for boycotts of Universal Pictures and parent company MCA. 

Suddenly, the theater I worked in was under siege. Letters, petitions, came in the mail everyday. People even marched in building demanding to see the manager about the possibility of the feature running in the city. That “Blasphemous Movie” should not be shown here. Their morale outrage was clear, at times scary.

In spite of the fact the Italian Catholic Scorsese’s film had not been seen by film goers. Many had made up their minds before the first frame unspooled in a darken cinema. Thankfully, The national chain GCC cinemas decided not to book the film in its houses.

I travelled 3 hours away by car to Cineplex Odeon to watch the film. My reaction, DULL! All the drama over a movie that almost put me to sleep. I had more exciting Sunday School classes than sitting through Willem DaFore’s underwhelming take on the Savior.

21 Century Culture War

 A new century, people are have access to cinema at their fingertips. Click, on comes a selection of 10.000 movies. More exposure to cinema does not mean more understanding for different stories or views on the world. “Cuties” a film made by Senegalese-French filmmaker

Welcome to 2020, a tight election, a broken economy, and to top off, a raging pandemic.  Ted Cruz  stated his “disgust” for the work, but the Texas Senator had not viewed the film. Why a US conservative elected official is “concerned” about African immigrant children in a Poor Paris Suburb is beyond my reasoning, while, 25% of America’s children go hungry everyday. But, perhaps, “Cuties” offers a Moral Outrage to strike-up the voter base to get to the polls. 

The “Cancel Netflix” hashtag trended for three days. Reach a wide audience, corrupting children, HA! What is the demand for a French Language film in the United States? 

Social media was visceral to a movie few watched or tried to understand. After posting on two digital platforms about a podcast we produced on the film, we got called names and accused of encouraging child sexuality. Certainly many accusers were trolls, but some real. How do I discuss a film with person who refuses to see it?

Was part of backlash because this is a work by a dark skinned African woman? An easy target, prejudices go deep. Racial resentment is running high during these tense times.

Doucoure’s themes are about searching, belonging, children’s susceptibility to the media. She presents new perspective on feminism.

The 21stcentury feels a lot like the 20thcentury, in a bad way.  The Culture War never ended. 

Cuties is available on Netflix.