Argentinian movie director Diego Kaplan is defending his erotic thriller, Desire, after the film was accused of containing child pornography.
In a scene of the movie, a pre-teenaged girl is shown accidentally discovering how to masturbate and achieve orgasm while watching a cowboy movie and pretending to ride an oversized pillow as if it were a horse.
But, the director says that the child actors in his film were filmed under close supervision by parents, and neither of them were told exactly what they were acting out, Variety reported.
Recently the movie was questioned as child pornography and said to be exploitative of the child actresses. Users on social media began circulating still images and video from the scenes in question last week, spurring a Change.org petition demanding that Netflix remove the film that has already garnered 1,112 signatures.
“The camera even takes this scene into a close-up of the child’s face in slow motion, moving up and down and panting like a porn star. The scene is graphic and includes an orgasm,” PJ Media’s Megan Fox said describing the scene on June 27.
But Diego Kaplan is defending the film as fantasy, not reality.
“Despair is a film. When we see a shark eating a woman on film, no one thinks the woman really died or that the shark was real,” he said in a statement released on June 29. “We work in a world of fiction; and, for me, before being a director comes being a father.”
Kaplan went on to insist that the girls in his film were not exploited:
Of course, this scene was filmed using a trick, which was that the girls were copying a cowboy scene from a film by John Ford. The girls never understood what they were doing, they were just copying what they were seeing on the screen. No adult interacted with the girls, other than the child acting coach. Everything was done under the careful surveillance of the girls’ mothers. Because I knew this scene might cause some controversy at some point, there is “Making Of” footage of the filming of the entire scene.
Everything works inside the spectators’ heads, and how you think this scene was filmed will depend on your level of depravity.
The film, first released in Argentina as Desearas: Al Hombre De Tu Hermana, began streaming on Netflix last December.
Twitter users, however, have attacked the film in recent days as nothing less than child porn:
@netflix I love your service, but you can not stream child porn. Take down the #desire movie immediately or you will lose me and my family as customers. I don't care how good your shows are. There is no excuse or justification for #childporn. #netflix
— stinji (@darth_stinji) June 28, 2018
@netflix You need to remove the film Desire from your service IMMEDIATELY. You are MAKING AVAILABLE CHILD PORN by leaving this film up. I am DISGUSTED and will be canceling my service if this is not fixed ASAP. What is wrong with you?!
— Nicole (@NMChampagne) June 27, 2018
— Vicious St. Bernard (@chrisbo62) June 28, 2018
— T Riordan (@triordan) June 27, 2018
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.