Johnny Mad Dog, maybe 15, leads a band of boy soldiers in a civil war in an unnamed African country. “Don’t want to die? Don’t be born” is one of their shouted mottoes. We follow Mad Dog and his crew – No Good Advice, Butterfly, Chicken Hair, and others – as they kill, pillage rape, interrogate, and terrorize on their march to the capital. They take a TV station and lead an assault on the President’s residence. We also follow Laokole, about Johnny age, as she tries to hold together her family of brother and disabled father. Is there more than chaos and inhumanity here? At war since age 10, has Johnny anything inside? (Imdb)
Today, in contemporary Africa.
Johnny, 15, a kid-soldier armed to the hilt, is inhabited by the mad dog he dreams of becoming.
With his small commando – No Good Advice, Small Devil, Young Major – he robs, pillages, and slays everything in his path.
Laokolé, 16, pushing her disabled facther around in a rickety wheelbarrow, attempting to invent the glorious future which her brilliant studies seem to have in store for her, strives to flee her city occupied by teenage-soldier militias, with her little brother Fofo, 8.
As Johnny advances, Laokolé flees . . .
Under the windows of embassies, NGOs, the High Commissionership for Refugees, teenagers fed by Hollywood imagery and disinformation play at war. The militias fight enemies dubbed “Patriots”; the “Dogo-Mayis” want to exterminate the “Mayi-Dogos”; the adolescent warlords call themselves “Giap” or “Rambo” and kill each other over a TV set, a basket of fruit, or a misplaced word.
Childhoods cut short, an Africa ravaged by absurd wars, a people who are trying, in spite of it all, to survive and to save their humanity. –Cannes Film Festival