Photo: ‘Jojo Rabbit’/Fox Searchlight Pictures 

​In the movie “Jojo Rabbit”, the audience submerges almost instantaneously in a world which has a very controversial and unexpected starting point.  The film approaches one of the darkest moments of humanity in an absurd, comedic and revolutionary way. Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis), a timid and emotionally wounded boy who joins the Nazi Youth will trust in the help and advice of a very peculiar imaginary friend: Adolf Hitler. His mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is not only worried about Jojo’s loyalty towards the regime but is also part of the resistance. As soon as Jojo finds out that his mom is hiding Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie), a Jewish girl at their home things begin to change. The child will slowly starts questioning his own beliefs and transforming his ideological point of view. Although the premise is quite shocking, it hooks you from the very beginning.

The writer and director, Taika Waititi brings this parody into life, and also portrays the Führer’s character. This controversial and hilarious Hitler is Jojo’s voice of consciousness. He tries to reinforce his self-confidence while stimulating the passionate devotion to the Nazi government. In the process of constructing the character, Waititi admits that he didn’t make the effort of building a very accurate version of the anti-Semite leader because he didn’t want him to have the satisfaction of knowing that someone studied him so closely. 

‘Jojo Rabbit’ From The Book To The Big Screen – Innovative Storytelling To Spread Love, Union And Tolerance

The movie is based on the novel “Caging Skies” written by Christine Leunens who used her personal family story as a source of inspiration. Her grandfather was taken to a work camp and her husband worked in the War Memorial in Normandy. Moreover, while she was living in Paris, she met an elderly woman who fell in love and married a man who hid with her family during the war. As in almost every adaptation, there are similarities and differences and in this case there was a close and friendly collaboration between the novelist and the filmmaker. Leunens considers that although the film practically follows the book plot, Taika puts his own touches which engages an audience. The major difference between the novel and the movie revolves around Hitler’s character. In the book he was in the consciousness of the character while in the movie the director brought him out in order to explore a kid’s point of view of the situation. For the writer, the film explores what the book was trying to do with the same message.  

Scarlett Johansen is Rosie, Jojo’s mom.  She is not only a single mom in a truly violent and complicated world but also a brave human who secretly fights to eradicate hatred from Germany. The actress immediately fell in love with this character as she believes that Rosie is a kind of magical, warm, safe place. Always loving and of course worried about her son’s insecurities and convictions, she works hard in order to protect her boy and show him how cruel and hostile reality is. 

Video: ‘Behind The Scenes’ and ‘Reaction From Stars’ on ‘Jojo Rabbit’/Hollywood Insider YouTube Channel

Illuminating The Darkest Periods Of Humanity

It is not the first time that a film tries to illuminate the most awful and despicable human atrocities. In 1997, Roberto Benigni’s “Life is Beautiful” also brought an inventive storytelling approach about the horrors of extremism. The character of Guido Orefice “transforms” a horrendous and inhumane concentration camp into a fantastic world full of imagination and humor. He does it to protect his son from the calamities of World War II. 

Jojo Rabbit is a journey of growth and acceptance. It is a reminder of how human beings have historically built walls and barriers among races. Unfortunately, these topics didn’t expire and still resound in our actual complex social reality. Waititi manifests the need for these kinds of stories to be told. He believes that it is very important to find new and inventive ways of telling the same story so children can listen, grow, move forward unified and with love in the future

In this funny and emotive story, the main character arches and grows up reframing his perspectives and the way he understands the world. He will see his personal life and his surroundings with new eyes. He will fight against and demolish brainwashing propaganda and discover that all individuals of all races and ethnicities are equal. 

By Catalina Piotti

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