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Oprah sees self in film on sexually exploited teen

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey says she recognises herself in the exploited girl Precious Jones, the protagonist of her film "Precious" about a Harlem teen sexually abused by her father.

world Updated: Sep 14, 2009 14:03 IST

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey says she recognises herself in the exploited girl Precious Jones, the protagonist of her film "Precious" about a Harlem teen sexually abused by her father.

Oprah is executive producer of the African-American film based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire. Set in New York's Harlem, "Precious" is the story of a teenaged black girl who is twice impregnated by her own father.

The film, directed by Lee Daniels, captures the tragic life of Precious who finally emerges as a stronger person from her exploitative situation.

Oprah, who herself was raped as a child and became pregnant at 14, told a news conference at the Toronto International Film Festival here Sunday: "When I watched the film, I recognised myself in that character and most of all, I recognised that I have seen the Precious girls of the world and they have been invisible to me.

"And the message from this film is that none of us ... can now walk through the world and allow the Preciouses of the world to be invisible to us again."

She said when she finished watching the film, she called executive producer Tyler Perry to give her the number of the director to speak to him.

"I called Tyler so that I could get Lee's number and tell him that I was gasping for air. After you have finished watching, it (the film) will suck the air out of the room."

Oprah has said she would promote the film on her talk shows, through her publications and in person.

Asked whether the message of the film was targeted at African Americans, director Lee Daniels said: "I'm a black filmmaker so it was told from a black perspective and it happens to a black girl. But this story is universal."

Mariah Carey, who has done the music and played the role of a social worker named Mrs Weiss, said filming the travails of Precious was emotionally such a difficult thing that at times everybody cried.

Gabourey Sidibe, who played the role of Precious, said the film has changed her life forever.

The film will be released in November and distributed by Lionsgate.