Jojo Rabbit, the innocent face of Nazism

Ironic, poignant, delicate. The 2019 film broadcast tonight on Rai 2 directed by Taika Waititi immerses us from the first frames in a surreal Nazi Germany. Johannes jojo Betzler he is a 10-year-old boy with a strong sense of duty and driven by an irreproachable patriotic love. Intoxicated by Nazi propaganda he internalizes, as only a child can do, all the anti-Semitic slogans and stories, to say the least fanciful, that the high tutors instill in him at school and in the training camps for the Nazi Youth (Deutsches Jungvolk). First among these is a bored and disillusioned general deprived of any war responsibility, now a caricature of himself. On the other hand there is a mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) loving and patient who takes care of the little one by herself jojo, as the father is a soldier in the war. It will be discovered later that he is actually a dissident of the Regime.

Jojo Rabbit, the defrauded Nazism

Little Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) and his imaginary friend Adolf (Taika Waititi)
Little Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) and his imaginary friend Adolf (Taika Waititi)

jojo no matter how hard he tries, he does not have the ferocious and ruthless nature that the Regime requires of him, so much so that in a field of Deutsches Jungvolk, refuses to kill a defenseless rabbit as proof of his worth. Hence the nickname jojo Rabbit. But it is the invention of the imaginary friend that makes the film a profound and ironic parody of Nazism. jojo imaginatively converses with Adolf Hitler, played by the director himself, who, it is important to remember, is of Jewish origin. The resulting Fuhrer undoubtedly has parodic characters, a character who takes every Nazi ideal to extremes, making fun of an exaggeration of the anti-Semitic narrative and tireless and unscrupulous nationalism.

However, in the growing parody we realize how much, through the eyes of a child, the degeneration that is proposed to us as comical is nothing more than the historical reality of the facts. A spasmodic hunt for the Jew as if they were witches in Salem; a continuous raising of Nazi arms, confusing and grotesque “Heil Hitler!”. The climax is the chance meeting of a Jewish girl, Elsa Korrhidden by the mother of jojo. The first contact is daring. Aware of the anti-Semitic propaganda, the girl makes fun of little Johannes’ beliefs not only indulging but inventing new absurd stories about Jews. Throughout the film their relationship intensifies and becomes a deep and pure friendship. From here the narration takes on more serious and dramatic nuances but Waititiwith great writing skill, always leaves in the background those nuances of that childish and innocent purity which is the main focus of the feature film.

In short Jojo Rabbit is a film not to be missed on the occasion of Remembrance Day. An alternative and delicate way of remembering what the human being is (if this still is) is able to perform against his neighbor. Dramatic yes, but not gloomy and sterile realism: an innocent and meek child becomes the spokesperson for an eternal message, inflated, but never repeated enough. Purity exists and can save the world and will itself find its way into history.

Paolo de Jorio

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Jojo Rabbit, the innocent face of Nazism – Metropolitan Magazine