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Rated R · 124 minutes · 2011
Somalian-born fashion model Waris Dirie is best known for having raised international awareness about female genital mutilation, but that's no excuse for turning her unique story into a simple issue drama. Born to nomads, Dirie traveled to London as a servant to a Somalian diplomat; when the civil war broke out in 1991 she fled the embassy to avoid being sent home and wound up working at a McDonald's, where she was discovered by photographer Terence Donovan. Unfortunately, writer-director Sherry Horman buzzes over Dirie's rise to fame in a couple of quick montages, declining to explain how this traditional young woman (played by Liya Kebede) adapted to the breezy morality of the fashion world. The movie has some powerful moments but never breaks past the parameters of its political message, climaxing with a horrifying flashback of Dirie's mutilation at age three and then cutting to her triumphant 1997 address to the United Nations. With Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall, Anthony Mackie, and Juliet Stevenson. In English and subtitled French and Somalian.
Official Site: movies.nationalgeographic.com/movies/desert-flower
Director: Sherry Hormann
Producer: Peter Herrmann
Cast: Liya Kebede, Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall, Juliet Stevenson, Craig Parkinson, Anthony Mackie, Meera Syal and Soraya Omar-Scego

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