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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Desert Flower [Blu-ray]


(Sherry Horman, 2009)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Desert Flower Filmproductions

Video: Virgil Films and Entertainment



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:08:01.548

Disc Size: 24,891,988,812 bytes

Feature Size: 22,157,462,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.59 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 19th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2966 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2966 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2019 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2019 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



• Extended Interview with Liya Kebede (16:41 in 480i)

Trailer (2:01 in 1080P)





Description: Her story touched the hearts of millions: Waris Dirie's book DESERT FLOWER, which recounts her incredible journey from an African nomad to an international top model, became a worldwide bestseller with more than 11 million copies sold. This is the inspiring story of an extraordinary, proud and brave woman. Director and screenwriter Sherry Hormann (Father's Day) and producer and Oscar winner Peter Herrmann (Nowhere In Africa) have adapted Dirie's autobiography for the screen: a modern fairy tale of dazzling glamour and archaic rituals, full of vitality, emotional depth and enormous compassion. Top model and actress Liya Kebede shines in the main role alongside an ensemble of brilliant actors including Silver Bear and Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky).



The Film:

The drama of the proceedings is intense but nicely balanced by the comedy in Hormann's script. The fish-out-of-water elements yield some laughs as Dirie, played by Ethiopian model Liya Kebede, appears to have learned what little English she knows from the Weather Channel and game shows. A number of eccentric characters portrayed by a who's-who of British actors also add to the levity. Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins plays Dirie's best friend, a goofy would-be ballerina, while Juliet Stevenson nearly steals the show as a no-nonsense modeling agent who drifts ostentatiously between English and French.

Excerpt from Stephanie Merry at the Washington Post located HERE


Desert Flower” may be fiction, but is closely based on the life of Waris Dirie, novelized by this gorgeous Ethiopian woman whose life changed more than that of most of us. After all, how many of us are like Dirie: brought up in the sticks of Somalia tending to sheep and goats, running away on bare feet with no money and nothing to eat until she got to the bustling city of Mogadishu, taken under the wing by her grandmother, who arranged to put her on a flight to some relatives working for the Somali embassy in London? Never mind that Dirie had to work like a slave for these uppity people at the embassy, at least until a revolution in Mogadishu meant that they were out on their butts, leaving Dirie to fend for herself.

Excerpt from Harvey Karten at Compuser located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Desert Flower looks surprisingly good on Blu-ray considering the meager technical transfer. This is single-layered with a low bitrate - by HD standards.  But despite that the image is bright, colors vibrant, detail strong and there is some pleasing depth.  it was shot in 35mm - although sometimes appears like DV - and while grain is not really prevalent - there is no gloss and the image is clean and very consistent. I don't see signs of boosting and contrast produces some solid black levels. There is a small amount of noise but no intrusive artifacts and this Blu-ray probably replicates the film with a strong degree of theatrical accuracy - which is all we ever ask for.


















Audio :

There isn't a lot to Desert Flower's audio - a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 2966 kbps that reports faithfully - but the film has nothing remarkable beyond the dialogue and a reasonably supportive score by Martin Todsharow. There are large-font English subtitles for the infrequent Somali spoken words and optional English subs for the rest of the film. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Supplements consist of a 17-minute interview with model, actress, dramatically pretty Liya Kebede (born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) in SD and an HD trailer.



I wasn't expecting to enjoy Desert Flower - but I thought it was okay. Most criticisms that I've seen have some validity but it is still an interesting story if you embrace the characters. Sally Hawkins and Juliet Stevenson are wonderful - as is the likable Liya Kebede. Regardless of it being a true story - the mere circumstances endear it to a celebrated superficiality and soapbox preaching wasn't unbearable. I imagine it would be hard to avoid this but the film has its darker edges with the genital mutilation crux as the unfathomable reality. The Blu-ray while technically modest produces an impressive enough image. I never felt my viewing was a waste.  

Gary Tooze

July 12th, 2011

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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