US and West African release of Desert Flower: press review

17 Mar

With the upcoming release of the movie Desert Flower in the US and Canada, as well as the recent premieres in Nigeria and Ghana, numerous magazines, newspapers and websites have published reviews of the movie or related interviews and background information on FGM. Here’s an overview of recent publications:

Voice of America interviewed the director of the movie, Sherry Hormann, as well as actress Liya Kebede, who plays Waris Dirie in Desert Flower: “Actress Liya Kebede hopes the film will take Dirie’s message to all the places where FGM is still practiced. “I think the movie is very gentle and very sensitive, at the same time quite honest with things,” Kebede says. “I think it’s a wonderful story to watch, entertaining and fun, while addressing an issue that’s quite present, and especially in Africa.”

Nigerian Newspaper The Nation covered the premiere of the movie in Lagos: “We see the dramatic transformation of this helpless, abused, impoverished nomad into glorious height, and although, the story is presented with filmic reality and entertaining delight, the message is not lost to the viewer”, the article states. “In real life, Waris Dirie was appointed by Kofi Annan as the United Nations Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and is now the African Union’s Ambassador of Peace and Security. Waris Dirie’s success story and her fight for the cause of women is brought to Nigeria through this movie to inspire women in all aspects of their rights.”

“It is hard to sit through Desert Flower without the nagging thought about the inhumanity of the female genital mutilation, or FGM for short.
It is also hard not to credit Waris with not only the courage of escaping from the clutches of this bestiality, but also for telling the world her story”, another Nigerian newspaper writes.

Nollywood, a Nigerian movie page has pictures of the premiere in Lagos. “It was gut-wrenching, heart-breaking experience but also so inspiring! Its a must watch for every woman and man!”, the author writes after attending the premiere.

New York Magazine announces the upcoming release of Desert Flower in the US, writing “In Sherry Horman’s latest film, Desert Flower, the 33-year-old Kebede tells the story of Waris Dirie, a Somalian top model from the late eighties to mid nineties who went through female circumcision at age 3 and was sold into marriage at age 13. Despite this film’s heavy subject matter, the top model insists that the film is “a movie about triumph.” She says, “It will encourage everyone to go out and dare to try things; to put oneself out there and confront things.”

More reviews of the movie:

New York Times Magazine: “Required Viewing”

You can read a detailed review of the movie on this blog.

An article on the movie on East Africa Forum.

A review of the movie in the New York Times.

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