Posted at 8:52 AM on February 27, 2009
by Euan Kerr
Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker's documentary "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," takes viewers to a terrifying place and then shows how a brave group of individuals used the meager tools available to them to reshape a country.
The Women's Peace Movement in Liberia formed as their homeland was descending into chaos in 2003, with heavily-armed drug-fueled child soldiers terrorizing the countryside as warlords battled the corrupt regime of Charles Taylor. Everyone suffered, and in particular the women who were raped, tortured and murdered.
An unprecedented alliance of Christian and Muslim women in Liberia came together to demand an end to the violence and terror. Their constant presence became hugely influential, culminating with the women barricading the doors of the peace conference in Ghana, and refusing to let the negotiators to leave without an agreement.
American film makers Disney and Reticker were convinced they had to tell the story after meeting with several of the women involved in the grassroots campaign to declare enough was enough. Chief among them was Leymah Gbowee, who became a central figure in the movement. She and several other of the women who put their lives on the line speak about the horror of those days, and what it took to change their country for the better.
"Pray the Devil back to Hell" is an immensely powerful film, about the strength of a community resolved to right itself.
The Twin Cities is home to a large Liberian population and there will be discussions held after evening screenings of the movie at the Lagoon Theater on Saturday and Wednesday