Films: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

USA, 2008, 72 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: African-American, Documentary, Womens Issues
Program: Documentary Films
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Gini Reticker
Producer: Abigail E. Disney
Editor: Meg Reticker, Kate Taverna
Cinematographer: Kirsten Johnson
Principal Cast: Janet Johnson Bryant, Etweda Cooper, Vaiba Flomo, Laymah Gbowee
US Distributor: Balcony Releasing

MUST END Thursday, January 29
35mm presentation - Shortly after warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor was elected in 1997, Liberia erupted into civil war for the second time in a decade. Child soldiers ran rampant through the streets of Monrovia, terrorizing the local population, while the opposition group—Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy—moved in, destroying much of the countryside as they went. After more than 250,000 people were killed and upwards of a million displaced, thousands of women from around the country banded together to achieve what their male compatriots could not: an end to the killing and a movement toward peace.

Mothers and daughters, grandmothers and sisters, Christians and Muslims, all dressed in plain white, gathered together in protest every day for months along President Taylor’s official route, singing and brandishing picket signs. Eventually, peace talks commenced in Ghana—but when even those appeared on the verge of breakdown, these brave women surrounded the building and refused to let the negotiators leave until a deal was brokered.

Gini Reticker uses an eye-opening combination of archival footage, international media coverage, and interviews with the activists to create not only an uplifting portrait of human courage in the face of dire circumstances but a record of transformation for an entire nation. Following the culmination of the peace talks, Charles Taylor fled the country and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected the first female president of Liberia.


Barbara Bridges

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