Movie Review: Desert Flower
Desert Flower (MA)
Directed by Sherry HormannReviewed by Lezly Herbert
Waris Dirie is known to many people from her best selling autobiography Desert Flower.
Born in the Somalian Desert in 1965, her job as a child was to look after her nomadic family’s sheep.
Three things dramatically change her life.
The first was a tradition thought to be 3,000 years old of removing the clitoris and sewing up the genitalia of young females to preserve their virtue. Despite the incredible risks, because of the belief that the only good woman is a cut woman, Waris had this primitive operation performed on her at a young age.
The second dramatic change came when she was promised in marriage at the age of thirteen and managed to escape to England to work as a servant for some members of her extended family. She didn’t experience much of the English way of life as she rarely left the house but when her family returned to Somalia six years later, she escaped yet again. At first she was destitute but while working in a fast food restaurant, the famous English photographer Terry Dalton (who had photographed Princess Diana) gave her his card, and she went from being homeless to modelling in New York.
Her story is incredibly inspiring. Even though approximately 130 million girls and women throughout the world are affected by the practice of female circumcision, and thousands of girls are still mutilated every day, Waris Dirie was the first female to speak out about the practice. She is now a United Nations Special Ambassador dedicated to stopping the barbaric practice of female circumcision.
Desert Flower screens as part of the Perth International Arts Festival at UWA’s Somerville 14-20 Feb and at ECU’s Joondalup Pines 21-27 Feb, commencing at 8pm. Tickets can be bought in advance through BOCS outlets.