Jojo Rabbit

by Taika Waititi

Jojo Rabbit’s Audacious Satire

Jojo Rabbit is the name of the latest production of New Zealand comedic director, writer, and actor Taika Waititi. A bold satiric adaptation of Christine Leunens dramatic novel Caging Skies. A controversial, if not divisive story about a Hitler Youth boy, who finds a Jewish girl his mom's been helping to hide in a false wall inside the house.

Adolf... I don’t think I can do this

Johannes "Jojo" Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) is a young German boy, and as many German kids in the 1940s, a propaganda-raised Nazi fanatic. However, his fate will change when his imaginary friend, a portrayal of what he believes is Adolf Hitler (Played by Taika), convinces him to steal and throw a grenade to prove his courage. This accident will leave him bedridden and literally (as metaphorically) deform his future as an Arian Nazi soldier. While staying at home, he will discover Elsa Korr (Thomasin McKenzie), a young teenage Jewish girl hiding inside the walls of his house. She reveals to him that his mother's been hiding her, so reporting her will result in all of them getting executed.

I’m the enemy?

The narrative then develops, striking balance between hysterical comedy and surprisingly heartfelt tragedy, in a moving coming of age story where Jojo, out of love, will confront his beliefs as he starts to question them. Ultimately choosing between liberty or repression; love or hate.

You’re stupid. Love is the strongest thing in the world

And that balance required of surgical precision from editor Tom Eagles, who worked closely with the director, scene by scene adding and subtracting jokes, keeping the tone of the film fun and engaging, but also dark and touching. All that while maintaining a critical rhythm to the film that allowed the jokes to land effortlessly, and the dramatic moments to hit effectively.

You're not a Nazi, Jojo. You're a ten-year-old kid who likes dressing up
in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club.

But it comes as no surprise that the film has raised so much debate around it. There is a fine line to walk when using comedy on a serious matter like it is fascism and war. But I think the script takes those matters with prudence, disarming the hatred and violence, showing with mockery the silliness of those ideals, but never underrating the damage they caused. And for me, that is precisely the power of satire that directors such as Charlie Chaplin and Ernst Lubitsch used to fight against those powers, delivering a powerful message: laughing is perhaps the easiest way to realize we are all equal.

But I recommend you judge this yourself.

What’s the first thing you’ll do when you’re free?

Written by Juan Pablo Ortiz from logueinn