5 Best Films that Provide a Glimpse into Life and the Struggles in Somalia

Out of sight, out of mind. This adage just about sums up how the world seems wired to forget about anything that it does not see. Somalia is probably one of the places in the world that many people know little about outside of its reputation as a lawless failed state. But it is home to millions of people with its own rich history, culture, and struggles that not many people know about. While movies may not capture the uniqueness and complexities of a country, they can at least provide glimpse into its life and travails. Here are some of the best films that will make you think about Somalia.

Black Hawk Down (2001)

The film is an adaptation of the book Black Hawk Down written by Mark Bowden. It tells the story of U.S. soldiers dropped in the heart of Mogadishu on a mission to capture a Somali warlord’s two top men. The soldiers were met by an unexpected attack that led to a long-drawn gunfight. Twenty soldiers died including the 18 men from the Army Rangers, Delta Force, and Task Force 160 aircrew. It is a gripping tale of a mission in a country torn by war and lawlessness.

Captain Phillips (2013)

Based on a true story, Captain Phillips tells the story of Captain Richard Phillips and the hijacking of the American container ship Maersk Alabama. It tells the tale of the events that unfolded when Somali pirates hijacked the ship and held Captain Phillips hostage in 2009.

Desert Flower (2009)

Desert Flower is a film based on the story of international model Waris Dirie. It is a tale of her journey from being a Somali nomad who experienced female genital mutilation (FMG), sold at 13 to become a bride, and her escape from Africa to build a new life as a global supermodel and FMG activist.

Godka Cirka (2013)

A Hole in the Sky (Godka Cirka) is a poignant film that provides a glimpse into the lives of three female shepherdesses in a village in Somaliland. It takes a look into the challenges and the struggles including the practice of female genital mutilation that dates back to the old days.

Men In The Arena (2015)

Instability, piracy, and terrorism are just some of the top things that come to many people’s mind about Somalia. Men In The Arena is a film that departs from these common themes. It instead puts the spotlight on the Somali national football team and its two athletes as they try to chase their dreams. It is a tale of hope in the midst of hopelessness.