OK, I watched the thing on NetFlix. I have been pondering quitting NetFlix for a while now, because while they do have interesting documentaries and some interesting comedies and dramas, they also have Leftist propagandistic crap. But my fellow right-wing patriots are off in their criticisms of it, although there still is definitely something to criticize.
So, is it pedophilia? No, quite the contrary in the way it is filmed; however, the message is still disturbing, because it reflects how the trashiest elements of ghetto culture are popular and even celebrated, and not enough emphasis upon how destructive that can be.
(a few spoiler alerts ahead, but I will try to avoid giving it all away)
The film is French, with English subtitles. It is about a Senegalese-French immigrant girl who gets involved with and wants to fit in with classmates who want to enter a dance competition, classmates who also have adopted the worst aspects of ghetto culture. The setting is clearly the lower classes of France and she and one other girl of that group clearly live in a tenement or housing project.
Along the way, the protagonist experiences her first period, teasing by peers, and other grade school bordering on middle school sad experiences and traumas. And yes, that teasing involves innuendo and disturbing aspects of children trying to grow up way too fast. The director herself, Maïmouna Doucouré, is Senegalese-French, and I suspect the film was meant to be autobiographical. Anyway, my fellow Americans, *never* think America has cornered the market for ghetto problems, (multi)cultural dysfunction, and immigration issues, the French clearly have these problems too.
Is the film pornographic? No, definitely not the way it was shot. Yes, their dance contest outfits and "twerking" or "freak" moves are disturbing, but it was not in any way cinematography filmed in such a way as to make that appealing. To the director's credit, you can see LOTS frowning parental faces when the girls do their terrible dance routine at the competition, and the protagonist does have a "OMG, what the hell am I doing here?" moment, after which she quits and runs off the stage. To quote a US Supreme Court justice, Potter Stewart, in an old Court case, Jocobvellis v. Ohio, which was also about alleged pornography, "I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."
However, that such trashy culture is prevalent and pervasive in society today is disgusting to be sure, and THAT is what really creeps me out about the film. I suppose the director will use the "Hey, I'm just the messenger, not the message" defense, but I don't see an ending where rejection of trashy culture is emphasized. At the end of the film, the protagonist Amy, abandons both the traditional Senegalese wedding dress (her father's bigamy a sub-plot in the movie) and her sexy dancer's outfit, and, in normal pre-teen girl jeans and a t-shirt, her hair down, she goes out to play jump rope with a group of girls. Which is better, but a rejection of trashiness is *not emphasized enough* in my mind.
So, while the film is not as bad as it has been made out to be, the message is clearly *not good*.