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The Redemption of General Butt Naked (2011)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Drama | January 2011 (USA)
Tells the story of Joshua Milton Blahyi - aka General Butt Naked - a brutal warlord who murdered thousands during Liberia's horrific 14-year civil war. Today, the General has renounced his ... See full summary »
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1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Joshua Milton Blahyi Jr. ... Himself - Blahyi's son
Janice Blahyi Janice Blahyi ... Herself - Blahyi's daughter
Joshua Blahyi Joshua Blahyi ... Himself (as Joshua Milton Blahyi)
Josie Blahyi Josie Blahyi ... Herself - Blahyi's wife
Makayla Blahyi Makayla Blahyi ... Herself - Blahyi's daughter
Sartee Bropleh Sartee Bropleh ... Himself - ex-soldier of Gen. Butt Naked
Samuel K. Doe Samuel K. Doe ... Himself (archive footage)
Emmanuel Emmanuel ... Himself - former soldier for Gen. Butt Naked
David Johnson David Johnson ... Himself - Ex-Bodyguard to Gen. Butt Naked (as Senegalese)
Prince Yormi Johnson Prince Yormi Johnson ... Himself - former warlord
John Kun Kun John Kun Kun ... Himself (as Bishop John Kun Kun)
Lovetta Lovetta ... Herself - family killed by Gen. Butt Naked
Dekhanso McCarthy Dekhanso McCarthy ... Himself - family killed by Gen. Butt Naked
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Storyline

Tells the story of Joshua Milton Blahyi - aka General Butt Naked - a brutal warlord who murdered thousands during Liberia's horrific 14-year civil war. Today, the General has renounced his violent past and reinvented himself as Evangelist Joshua Milton Blahyi. This portrait takes viewers on Joshua's crusade to redeem his past, as he confronts his victims and attempts to rehabilitate the former child soldiers who once fought for him. Whatever you make of him -- liar or madman, charlatan or genuine repentant -- the film challenges viewers to ask important questions about both the power and the limits of forgiveness, amid a nation's search for healing and justice. Written by Anonymous

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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | Georgia | Liberia

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pokuta Generala Golasa See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

part2 pictures See more »
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Runtime:

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
The story is nothing new and the documentary is technically well done. However, the response is truly sickening
3 May 2015 | by t_atzmuellerSee all my reviews

People who are not familiar with the history of Liberia or the eight year Civil War, costing the lives of a (conservative) estimate of 200,000 people, will probably not be familiar with the "General Butt Naked" either. Those people might chuckle at such an "endearing" nome de guerre, but do not let yourself be fooled: the key-word here is "nome de guerre" and there is nothing endearing about the General whose real name is Joshua Milton Blahyi.

In a war that was infamous for it's violent warlords and militias, Blahyi built himself a sad reputation for literally fighting 'butt-naked' with his personal army, consisting a great deal of brain-washed, drugged child-soldiers and being among the most feared of his kind. Thousands, it not ten-thousands were slain by Blahyi and his "Butt Naked Brigade", after being tortured, raped and often enough cannibalized prior to a death, that would eventually come to the victims like a mercy. Blahyi himself, rather care-free, frank and seemingly unburdened by guilt, would describe his atrocities in stomach-churning details to journalists, such as his habit of sacrificing a child and eating it's heart prior to going to combat.

Of course we might assume that Blahyi would have ended up standing trial for mass-murder, and would have found a deserved demise at the hands of a hangman. We would be mistaken. Blahyi found something entirely different after the war ended in 1997: Blahyi found Jesus Christ and thanks to the act of vicarious redemption (in case you're not a Christian, that means the atonement of all your sins on account of a human-sacrifice in ancient Palestine), total forgiveness for all his heinous deeds. You read that correct and you're not in the Twighlight Zone: the good General never served a day in prison, opting instead to become a reborn Christian and a pastor. With the true charm of the psychopath he soon gathered a new flock and currently runs the rather profitable "End Time Train Evangelistic Ministries Inc" in Liberia.

During the interview with this beast, it is really very hard not to like Blahyi: he is charming, charismatic, obviously intelligent and well-spoken, and he performs his services with the routine of a professional Wrestling promoter. One could almost say that he carries all the hallmarks of a psychopath. To the credits of the filmmakers, Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion, is must be said: they approach both the topic and the person with a professional distance and neutrality. Like good documentary-makers should, they show only the facts and what the camera sees. It is entirely up to the audience to believe in Blahyis sudden, even if convenient conversion or whether the "Hallelujah"-chants of his frantic congregation are just too eerily familiar to similar chants, uttered less than 15 years earlier, but certainly with no less conviction. One should also mention, that members of this congregation were not only members of Blahyis killer-crew, but also victims of Blahyi, whose families were whipped out by the same person whom they applaud skipping and dancing across the stage.

So you can take the title literally or consider the word "redemption" sarcastic, it is up to the viewer. Objectively I can only praise the makers ability to stay neutral: on a personal, moral level I have more difficulties. In comparison, if one would make a documentary on Adolf Hitler as a private person and would come to the final conclusion, that Hitler was a charming person, was pleasant in conversation, kind to pets and children, that would no doubt be true (and countless other documentaries have already concentrated on all the misery that his particular historical figure has caused). However, on the subject of Blahyi and the atrocities of numerous other participants (many who have likewise found their "way to god"), perhaps one would have approached the subject a little more subjective.

This is not so much a criticism of the subject and handling there-of - the documentary get's a decent 7/10 from me - but more of the reaction to it that I have experienced. While watching it, there were numerous viewers in the audience who chanted along said frenetic "Hallelujah"-cries in the movie and later discussed, what a "beautiful example of forgiveness and redemption" Blahyi is. I must admit, this gave me more nightmares than the actual confessions on the atrocities (and you need not look further than other reviews of the film on this same page). But perhaps it's only the moral person in me, that still firmly believes that a criminal should be held accountable by a (worldly) court, and who cares not whether the killer has found Baal, Jesus, Zeus or the Dalai Lama in the meantime. To paraphrase the late Christopher Hitchens here, but not only does Religion poison everything, but occasionally a snake can feast and prosper on this poison. For this I would not give a point.


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