Taika Waititi, Using Nazis to Promote Anti-Hate


Carter Bernard

Rabbit Swastika

Sarah Hart, Staff Writer

In this last month, New Zealand director, Taika Waititi, released his newest film Jojo Rabbit, a dark comedy set in Nazi Germany, in select theaters in Los Angeles and New York City. After winning the much sought-out People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, the film has been regarded as a formidable front-runner for the upcoming 2020 Oscars. The film itself boasts an extremely notable cast, including Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Thomasin McKenzie, and an array of talented child actors such as Roman Griffin Davis and Archie Yates. 

Throughout Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi’s creativity is demonstrated in multiple instances of the film, which portrays a ten year old Hitler Youth named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), who is completely taken in by “Hitlermania.” The film opens with shots of massive crowds at pro-Hitler rallies while the song, “Komm gib mir deine Hand” (“I Want to Hold Your Hand”), plays, cleverly comparing the frenzies of Hitler’s rallies to Beatlemania.

In his usual fashion, Waititi incorporates comedic bits including Jojo’s imaginary friend, Hitler (Taika Waititi), Fraulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson), and Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell). Despite its comedic elements, the film also tackles extremely heavy topics from a child’s perspective about love, the loss of a parent, self-confidence, and anti-hate. 

The art of “Happy Sad Cinema,” a trademark of Waititi’s films, is well managed in Jojo Rabbit. One minute the film cunningly shows satirical Nazism, and in another, it transitions well from comedic moments to surprisingly heavy topics. Exceeding the expectations set by critics, Waititi has not only flaunted his trademark dark comedy style, but has also succeeded in making an extremely emotional and heartwarming coming of age story, all set in Nazi Germany. 

Fittingly, at the end of the movie when viewers find out the Allies have won, a quote from Ranier Maria Rilke, an Austrian poet, flashes on the screen: “Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror. No feeling is final.”