Eleven-year-old Amy lives with her mom, Mariam, and younger brother, awaiting her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. Amy is fascinated by disobedient neighbor Angelica’s free-spirited dance clique, a group that stands in sharp contrast to stoic Mariam’s deeply held traditional values. Undeterred by the girls’ initial brutal dismissal and eager to escape her family’s simmering dysfunction, Amy, through an ignited awareness of her burgeoning femininity, propels the group to enthusiastically embrace an increasingly sensual dance routine, sparking the girls’ hope to twerk their way to stardom at a local dance contest.
With a keen eye for and an understanding of adolescent behavior, Maïmouna Doucouré—whose short film Maman(s) won the Short Film International Fiction Jury Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival—focuses tightly on her rowdy protagonists, crafting a spirited film that nimbly depicts the tweens’ youthful energy and vulnerabilities while exploring their fumbling eagerness to be identified as sexualized. Fathia Youssouf captivates as Amy, shifting like a chameleon between the different identities her character is juggling and deftly anchoring the film’s immensely watchable, vivacious young cast. For more visit: https://www.sundance.org/projects/cuties