7.4/10
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18 user 55 critic

Desert Flower (2009)

Trailer
2:13 | Trailer
Waris Dirie, born 1965 in Somalia, flees at 13 when sold as 4th wife. She's maid at the Somalian embassy in London, then McDonald's, where she's discovered and becomes int'l top model. 1997, she speaks up against female genital mutilation.

Director:

Sherry Hormann

Writers:

Smita Bhide (script revisions), Waris Dirie (novel) | 3 more credits »
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Soraya Omar-Scego Soraya Omar-Scego ... Young Waris
Idriss Abdillahi Houfaneh Idriss Abdillahi Houfaneh ... Old Man
Awa Saïd Darar Awa Saïd Darar ... Amina
Roun Daher Aïnan Roun Daher Aïnan ... Waris' Mother
Osman Aden Dalieg Osman Aden Dalieg ... Waris' Father
Liya Kebede ... Waris Dirie
Sally Hawkins ... Marilyn
Meera Syal ... Pushpa Patel
Anna Hilgedieck Anna Hilgedieck ... Girl in Shower
Lucrezia Phantazia Lucrezia Phantazia ... Girl in Boardinghouse
Craig Parkinson ... Neil
Matthew Alexander Kaufman Matthew Alexander Kaufman ... Fastfood Manager (as Matt Kaufman)
Timothy Spall ... Terry Donaldson
Prashant Prabhakar ... Kami
Anthony Mackie ... Harold Jackson
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Storyline

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 female genital mutilation (FGM). Written by Athina-90

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The extraordinary true story of the woman who crossed the desert and changed the world.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violent content, a scene of sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | Austria | France

Language:

English | Somali | French

Release Date:

24 September 2009 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Desert Flower See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,657, 20 March 2011

Gross USA:

$44,348

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,631,377
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Color (35 mm version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Safa Idriss Nour, who plays 3 year-old Waris, is the subject of Ms. Dirie's most recent book Saving Safa: Rescuing a Little Girl from FGM. See more »

Goofs

Lucinda (from the modeling agency) says to Waris she would be without broadband in Africa. Broadband didn't exist in the early to mid 80s when this story took place. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Movie Friends: Prashant Prabhakar (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Let's Stick Together
Music and Lyrics by Peter Hoppe and Bernd Batke
Performed by Slackwax feat. Anna Leyne
© Published by Modern Soul and Universal Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Overcoming Obstacles
19 March 2012 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

DESERT FLOWER is a very powerful film that introduces many viewers to the atrocities of Female Genital Mutilation, defined by the dictionary as 'FGM, also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is defined as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non- medical reasons. FGM is typically carried out on girls from a few days old to puberty. It may take place in a hospital, but is usually performed, without anesthesia, by a traditional circumciser using a knife, razor, or scissors.' Though that is not the main driver of this story it certainly makes the life of Waris Dirie who wrote this autobiography recognized as someone who overcame insurmountable odds to become one the world's top models and a speaker for women's rights.

Liya Kebede stars as Waris Darie and is the perfect choice of an actress to fill this role: she is an International supermodel, actress and philanthropist, born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 2003, she was the first woman of color to become the face of Estée Lauder cosmetics.

Waris Dirie (Liya Kebede) was born in Somalia and was subjected to FGM and fled across the desert to freedom form the heinous attitude toward women (Waris as a child is beautifully portrayed by Soraya Omar-Scego). She struggles though dreary jobs, eventually hooks up with Marilyn (Sally Hawkins0 who introduces her to the world of fashion via Terry Donaldson (Timothy Spall), learns how to dress and walk in heels and eventually becomes the great model we know us as today. She has love interests (Anthony Mackie) but her aim is to gain enough credibility and money to go before the WHO and speak against the mutilation that exists in many countries to this day.

Directed by Sherry Horman who adapted Dirie's autobiography for the screen with Smita Bhide, the visuals are spectacular and the manner in which the story is related is full of passion and compassion. The entire cast (including Juliet Stevenson, Meera Syal, and Craig Parkinson) is pitch perfect. But it is Liya Kebede who fills the screen not only with her beauty but also with a powerful performance of the main character. A very fine film with a heavy message.

Grady Harp


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