7.4/10
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19 user 54 critic

Desert Flower (2009)

Trailer
2:13 | Trailer

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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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Sherry Hormann

Writers:

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

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Photos

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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 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:

Fleur du désert See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,657, 20 March 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$44,348, 1 May 2011
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

The real Waris Dirie had a small role in the James Bond film The Living Daylights. 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 RTL Boulevard: Episode #11.70 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Without You (Glenn Morrison Remix)
Music by Craig Armstrong and Scott Fraser
Vocals by Lucy Pullin
French spoken words by Laurence Ashley
Remix and additional production by Glenn Morrison and Byron Wong
© by Chester Music Ltd. by the courtesy of Bosworth Music GmbH, Berlin
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User Reviews

Every Parents Need To Know This
19 October 2012 | by elsiclawsonjrSee all my reviews

"Desert Flower" is based on the life of Waris Dirie (Liya Kebede) who was born into a Somalian desert tribe, then ran away from an arranged marriage as a young teen and made her way to London, where she became a world-famous supermodel. As a child, she was circumcised, as is the custom in many African countries. An old woman in the desert cut away those parts that could someday allow her to feel sexual pleasure.

When Waris was sold as a young teenager to an old man who already had three wives, she simply left one day, walking hundreds of miles across desert and scrub land to seek her grandmother in Mogadishu. Amazingly, she found her — and was hired by an aunt in London to work as a maid. The film cuts between her experiences as a young girl and what happened in London, where she ran away, lived on the streets and were befriended by a ditz shop girl named Marylin (Sally Hawkins).

It is while sweeping floors and cleaning slop at a McDonalds that she's spotted by fashion photographer Terry Donaldson (Timoty Spell). Donaldson saw something in the bone structure of the cleaning lady that convinced him to give her his card. Waris was all worried trying to be model, but thankfully Marylin knows her fashion and persuades her, several months later, to pop round and see him. She's soon on her way.

"Desert Flower" is an important movie, and a great one for all African women to see. Dirie's life-story is inspiring for me, her experiences as young girl are tragic, and her ability to speak out against a custom that has long been hidden is impressive. The film certainly has an important message. The scenes that will remain in the memory long after the film concludes are those dealing with Waris' circumcision, particularly an excruciating sequence in which I watch her three year old face as the procedure is performed. It's an angry, damning indictment of a barbaric process. Which I wish it will stop.


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