Desert Flower DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 9.0
Audio 9.0
Special Features 6.0
Total 8.0
Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 127 Minutes
Classification:
MA15+
Reviewer: Simon Black

8.0


Desert Flower

Based on the best-selling autobiography of the same name, Desert Flower tells the amazing true story of Somali model turned women’s rights activist Waris Dirie. 

Born into a nomadic tribe of desert goat-herders, Dirie was subjected to female genital mutilation as child (in her book she describes in harrowing detail how the procedure was undertaken with a rusty razor blade and no anaesthetic) and fled her family at 13 to avoid an arranged marriage to a 67-year-old man. 

After a series of trials and ordeals unimaginable to most of us she arrived in London, and was ‘discovered’ by photographer Terence Donovan (here portrayed by Harry Potter’s Timothy Spall)

whilst working at McDonalds.  A Pirelli calendar cover, succession of lucrative modelling contracts and even a minor role in the 1987 Bond film The Living Daylights soon followed, and the former Somali nomad seemingly had the world at her feet. 

In 1997 Dirie abandoned her modelling work to focus on her work against female circumcision, speaking out against the practise in an interview with Marie Claire magazine.  Her autobiography appeared a year later and in 2002 Dirie formed the Desert Flower Foundation, an organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers and barbarity of FGM, a practise that takes place on some two million girls per year, many of them as young as four. 

Model and actress Liya Kabede, herself a human rights activist, is superb as the adult Dirie.  Her performance is simultaneously spirited, measured and emotive and she also plays perfectly off her co-stars, who include Sally Hawkins (Layer Cake) and Craig Parkinson (Control).  The sights and sounds of sun-drenched Africa are effortlessly evoked by Director Sally Hormann, as are the human and beurocratic indifference that confront Dirie upon her arrival in London. 

Ultimately too, despite its serious undertones, the story is a triumphant one, and a heartwarming tale of one woman’s struggle against seemingly inconquerable adversity.  

Special Features

In addition to the usual Madman propaganda and a theatrical trailer, the release features a highly enjoyable 30-minute Making Of, replete with interviews with the film’s director, producers and principal cast, BTS footage of the film’s shoots in Djibouti, London and elsewhere, the story of the film’s genesis ands plenty of exclusive interview footage of the inspirational Dirie.






 
 



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