Review: Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit” aims to inspire love


Jojo “Rabbit” Betzler played by Roman Griffin Davis talks to his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, played by co-director Taika Waititi. Courtesy of Kimberley French/Twentieth Century Fox

Haley Soares, Arcade Editor

Nazi satire film “Jojo Rabbit”, the masterwork of Taika Waititi, made an appearance at the 30th New Orleans Film Festival this past Thursday, Oct. 17. 

Waititi, hailing from New Zealand, is a multifaceted man — known primarily for co-directing and starring in the 2013 vampire-mockumentary “What We Do In The Shadows”. He is also responsible for directing Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok”, which was released in 2017. 

“Jojo Rabbit” was a true feat by Waititi, who not only wrote and directed, but also featured in the film. The film was based on a novel titled “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens, and follows the story of a young member of the Nazi party who discovers a Jewish girl living in his house. He is accompanied throughout by his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler— played by Waititi himself.

While the film is certainly a dark comedy, it also is surprisingly heartfelt and is likely to produce at least a few tears from any audience member. It deals with family, love, and identity in a time of great chaos and upheaval. The tears shed were well balanced with hearty laughter for Waititi’s signature humor, which had the audience at the Prytania roaring throughout.

The film itself was prefaced by a short on screen interview with Waititi, who clarifies that this film is primarily concerned with anti-hate rhetoric, and that his goal with this piece is to inspire people to spread love. 

Waititi also managed to gather an all star cast, featuring such Hollywood names as Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, and Sam Rockwell. Meanwhile, young actor Roman Griffin Davis makes his debut in the film, playing none other than Jojo “Rabbit” Betzler. 

“Jojo Rabbit” will be released more widely on Oct. 18, and it will be making its way back to New Orleans at the end of the month. 

Be sure not to miss out on the remainder of the New Orleans Film Festival, which is running until Oct. 23 at various locations throughout the city. Students qualify for a discounted student pass for the festival, information for which can be found on the New Orleans Film Society website.

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