Country:UK | Germany | Austria
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Based on the world best-selling book DESERT FLOWER by Waris Dirie - the autobiography of a Somalian nomad circumcised at 5, sold in marriage at 13, who became an American supermodel and is now at the age of 38, the UN spokeswoman against circumcision.
Born in Somalia in 1965, Dirie fled on foot across the desert to escape an arranged marriage at the age of 13. Migrating to London, she did odd-jobs for years before being talent-spotted by fashion photographer Terence Donovan while working in McDonalds. She became an international celebrity by the late 80s and early 90s, but she gave up modelling at the height of her fame after spontaneously revealing to an American journalist that she had been circumcised as a child in Somalia. She soon became one of the most prominent spokespeople against female circumcision, or female genital mutilation and a UN special ambassador to campaign against the practice.
Desert Flower is more of a rags-to-riches story than a political tract, placing emphasis on character over politics. The scene detailing the young Waris’s circumcision is explored with tact and subtlety. Although brief, it is the film’s most emotionally affecting scene. As a story of friendship and opportunity, and even fashion, Desert Flower is warm and full of heart.