Desert Flower - a very moving film about Waris Dirie and her fight against female circumcision


Desert Flower (UK/Germany/Austria, 2009)

Seen: Wednesday, 31st March 2010 (cinema)
Runtime: 120′
Director: Sherry Horman
Cast: Liya Kebede, Sally Hawkins, Craig Parkinson, Meera Syal, Anthony Mackie, Juliet Stevenson, Timothy Spall
Production House: Desert Flower Filmproductions
Plot: (from imdb)

The autobiography of a Somalian nomad circumcised at 3, sold in marriage at 13, fled from Africa a while later to become finally an American supermodel and is now at the age of 38, the UN spokeswoman against circumcision.


Also, you might like to see a news report about the film with short interviews with Waris Dirie and Liya Kebede.

Rating: +2 (Adored it)

Impressions In Short
I think it’s fair to say that it left a very strong impression on me - I was still sobbing long after leaving the cinema, which I think my mum found slightly amusing ;) I don’t remember the last time a film had me crying so much. But I laughed a lot also ;)

More About the Film
At its heart the film is a classic underdog sort of story. Only in this case the story really happened and the main character is a Somalian girl, who goes against everything that society wants her to be. First she flees when she’s forced into a marriage at the age of 13. Then she escapes Somalia, ends up in London and eventually becomes an international supermodel there. And finally she starts speaking up against female circumcision and becomes one of the biggest figures in the worldwide struggle against it. It’s an amazing story because of its lead character (as far as I’m concerned Waris Dirie is one of the bravest people I’ve ever heard of), the bizarre sequence of events that happen to her and because of how honest the film is about what being a woman actually means and how there still is a practice in the world that attacks the very essence of it.
It’s a very feminine film in some ways. I loved the “girl talk” scenes - in particular the one when Waris finally talks to her roommate about being “cut”. It’s a very moving and very intimate scene.
The acting was awesome. Liya Kebede and Sally Hawkins were both amazing, but all the bit parts were great also. The UK has a great tradition of realistic acting and it was really utilized here. I also loved the soundtrack.
On the minus side of things, the narration had its holes. In particular I wondered what happened to Waris’s younger brother. She makes a promise never to leave him and then she does and then nothing is made of that. There were things like that in the narration that were a bit annoying. And then the cinematography and choice of shots was very boring and run of the mill - like in a bad TV series. That was one of the most disappointing things in the film for me.
It still was fab though, I enjoyed it a lot :)

As far as I’m concerned, yep! ;-P Don’t be put off by the serious subject matter or by me having a sobbing attack ;) It is a very emotional movie, but it’s a pleasant film to watch and even if you’re not into the subject matter, it works very well just as a plain underdog movie.

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