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Non-Review Review: A Girl From Mogadishu

This film was seen as part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2019. Given the high volumes of films being shown and the number of reviews to be written, these may end up being a bit shorter than usual reviews.

One of the most striking aspects of discussing a biographical film is separating the biography from the film.

Ifrah Ahmed is a truly spectacular human being, with a truly incredible story. More than that, Ahmed is a hugely influential figure who has done an impressive amount of work to draw public attention to a very important cause. Ahmed is an inspiring figure, and very much worthy of all the praise and publicity that she has received. Her advocacy for women affected by female genital mutilation is a cause that merits support and encouragement. More than that, there is probably a great movie to be made about Ahmed’s story.

Unfortunately, A Girl From Mogadishu is not that story. The film is a disaster on a spectacular scale. The issue is certain not its choice of subject or subject matter; in the hands of a competent production team, those two elements could combine to create a truly engaging and exciting piece of film. The problem with A Girl From Mogadishu is the sheer level of creative incompetence involved. This is a film that often seems like it was assembled by a director who had only ever heard films described, rather than actually watched any of them.

A Girl From Mogadishu is cinematically illiterate, which is massively disappointing on a number of level. It betrays a talented international cast, an audience hungry for good stories told well, and a subject who is arguably one of the most important Irish social figures of the past decade and who very much deserves a much better spotlight.

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