Hot Docs: The Redemption of General Butt Naked

While The Redemption of General Butt Naked may sound like a comedic film, its content is far from it.

Directed by Daniele Anastasion and Eric Strauss, the documentary offers an incredible, eye-opening tale of Joshua Milton Blahyi, a former Liberian warlord turned evangelist preacher and humanitarian.

Known as General Butt Naked (a name given to him for stripping down naked before massacring victims), the film follows Blahyi as he attempts to reform the lives of his former child soldiers and seek redemption from his victims and their families from all the pain and suffering he caused during the Liberian Civil War.

The film opens up debate on a controversial topic that would normally see Blahyi as the face of evil.

Having slaughtered and shot thousands of civilians, it may be tough to believe how someone responsible for so much violence in the past could become a preacher.

Although it’s evident from the start that the presence of Blahyi still haunts the civilians around him, directors Anastasion and Strauss are effective in framing the ex-terrorist into a man of God, opening up debate from the audience.

Although many questions surrounding Blahyi are never fully answered, evidence from photos, interviews and archival video footage certainly try to capture his road to redemption.

Recognizing how Blahyi’s past actions are unforgivable, the documentary is also successful in capturing his victims hardships.

While the film can be frustrating from Blahyi’s countless attempts to beg for forgiveness, his strong will and drive to be forgiven for his sins are apparent. Unlike so many who are unable to confess their wrongdoings, Blahyi is brave to own up to his mistakes and admit to the depth of his harm.

Love him or loathe him, the life and personality of Blahyi is fascinatingly captured in this compelling piece of a man seeking liberation for crimes — possibly for the rest of his life.

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