DESERT FLOWER

Tragic, Yet Ultimately Uplifting

Content -2
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: March 18, 2011

Starring: Liya Kebede, Sally Hawkins, Craig Parkinson, Meera Syal, Anthony Mackie, Timothy Spall

Genre: Drama

Audience: Older teenagers and adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 120 minutes

Distributor: National Geographic Entertainment

Director: Sherry Horman

Executive Producer: None

Producer: Peter Herrmann

Writer: Sherry Horman and Smita Bhide

Address Comments To:

David Beal, President, National Geographic Entertainment
1145 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-4688
Phone: (202) 857-7027; Fax: (202) 828-6679
Website: www.nationalgeographic.com

Content:

(BB, FR, Pa, L, VV, SS, N, A, D, M) Strong moral worldview as woman stands up against the terrible pagan practice of female genital mutilation, with some references to the false pagan religion and practices of Islam; brief foul language; strong violence includes attempted rape scene, implied genital mutilation, and would-be rapist hit in head with stone; female protagonist walks in on her unmarried female friend having sexual relations with a man and woman escapes from a would-be rapist; upper male nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, woman marries man she does not love to avoid going back to war-torn, Islamic country of Somalia.


Summary:

DESERT FLOWER tells the true story of a celebrity who made a career from a nomad girl in Somalia to an international top model, all the while hiding a ghastly secret. This remarkable, ultimately uplifting movie’s mature subject matter is very serious, so strong caution must be exercised.


Review:

DESERT FLOWER tells the true story of German celebrity Waris Dirie, who advances from being a nomad girl to an international top model. However, as she rose to international fame, she kept a secret for a long time: as a three-year-old girl, she suffered female genital mutilation.
The movie is based on the internationally bestseller autobiography by Waris Dirie. Waris means “desert flower.” Waris is a child of nomads in the desert of Somalia. She is responsible for the goats. When she is 13-years-old, her father reveals to her that she must marry an older man, who already has three wives.
Waris flees before the forthcoming coercive marriage and hops a truck heading to Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. She escapes rape by the truck driver only by desperately crashing a stone on his head.
In Mogadishu, Waris finds her grandmother, who helps place her as a servant in the Somali embassy in London. For some years, she works without education and linguistic training and can never leave the embassy. She runs away and befriends a salesgirl named Marilyn, who helps her. Marilyn provides her with accommodation and gets her a job cleaning at a fast food restaurant.
In the meantime, now grown up to be a very beautiful woman, Waris is discovered in the fast food restaurant by the star photographer Terry Donaldson. Very quickly, she becomes a well-paid top model but not without many obstacles.
Behind this fairy tale from a nomad girl to a top model there is a secret that always burdens Waris. Only her friend Marilyn knows about it.
Though difficult, Waris, now known worldwide as a top model, reveals to a journalist in an interview that her genitals were cut when she was three-years-old. With this admission, she becomes a pioneer against this cruel practice of female genital mutilation. Waris also becomes the UN ambassador for the abolition of female genital mutilation. According to the movie, every day 6,000 girls will be cut.
Based on the successful autobiography by a top international model, DESERT FLOWER is an important, remarkable, and ultimately uplifting movie that draws the public’s attention to an important issue. Because of the movie’s mature subject matter, strong caution needs to be exercised, specifically for a scene of attempted rape and the scene of implied mutilation.
Around the world, this ghastly practice is performed as part of tradition and ritual. DESERT FLOWER goes a long way in encouraging the world to ban this practice. It deserves commendation.


In Brief:

DESERT FLOWER tells the true story of Waris Dirie, who advances from being a nomad girl in Somalia to an international top model. She kept an awful secret for many years. As a three-year-old girl, Waris suffered female genital mutilation. At age 13, she is forced to flee Somalia to avoid marriage. After ending up homeless, she gets a job working at a restaurant, where a celebrity photographer discovers her beauty. Very quickly, she becomes a top model. Though difficult, she finally makes the brave decision to reveal her secret. She then becomes a pioneer against this cruel practice. Waris also becomes the United Nations ambassador for the abolition of female genital mutilation.



Based on the successful autobiography by a top international model, DESERT FLOWER is an important, ultimately uplifting movie that draws the public’s attention to an important issue. Because of its mature subject matter, strong caution needs to be exercised, however. Around the world, the ghastly practice of female mutilation is performed as part of tradition and ritual. DESERT FLOWER goes a long way in helping to stop this practice. It is a remarkable movie that deserves commendation.