Desert Flower

Desert Flower
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Desert Flower
United Kingdom, 2010, 124 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: Germany, Austria
Topics: African Interest, Biopic, Political, Woman Director, Women
Programs: Best of the Fest, Cinema Safari
Language: English

A beautifully shot biopic of the life of Waris Dirie, a Somali shepherd’s daughter who went on to become a top supermodel before using her highly visible platform to speak out against female circumcision in Africa, Sherry Hormann’s stirring drama benefits from the casting of Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede in the lead. She brings a quiet determination to her role as Dirie, who, as a girl, was shunted from relative to relative before ending up an illegal immigrant in London working as a waitress in a burger joint. It is there that photographer Terry Donaldson (here played by Mike Leigh regular Timothy Spall) spotted her and sent her on the road to fame, fortune, and a gig speaking out against genital mutilation—something she herself had suffered as a child—at the UN.

Hormann injects liberal doses of humor throughout the film—especially in scenes of Dirie’s early modeling days in London—while eliciting strong support from the likes of Spall, Juliet Stevenson and the irrepressible Sally Hawkins (seen very recently as the lead in Made in Dagenham and in Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky).

DIRECTOR: Sherry Hormann
Producer: Peter Herrmann
Editor: Clara Fabry
Screenwriter: Sherry Hormann
Cinematographer: Ken Kelsh
Music: Martin Todsharow
Principal Cast: Liya Kebede, Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall, Juliet Stevenson, Craig Parkinson, Anthony Mackie, Meera Syal
Filmography: Guys and Balls (2004), Widows (1998), Father’s Day (1996), Silent Shadow (1991)
Print Source: National Geographic Cinema Ventures

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