Jojo Rabbit 2019
Jojo Rabbit is a 2019 comedy-drama film written and directed by Taika Waititi, adapted from Christine Leunens's 2008 book Caging Skies. Roman Griffin Davis portrays the title character, Johannes "Jojo" Betzler, a ten-year-old Hitler Youth member who finds out that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. He must then question his beliefs while dealing with the intervention of his imaginary friend (Waititi), a fanciful version of Adolf Hitler with a comedic stance on the politics of the war. The film also stars Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, and Alfie Allen.
Jojo Rabbit 2019
Jojo Rabbit had its world premiere at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2019, where it won the Grolsch People's Choice Award. It was later released theatrically in the United States on October 18. It was chosen by the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute as one of the ten best films of the year. The film mostly received critical acclaim, though there were a few polarized critical reviews due to its comedic treatment of the subject of Nazism. Among its numerous accolades, the film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, while also being nominated for five other awards, including Best Picture, at the 92nd Academy Awards.
During the collapse of Nazi Germany in the fictional city of Falkenheim,[a] ten-year-old Johannes "Jojo" Betzler joins the Deutsches Jungvolk, the junior section of the Hitler Youth. Heavily indoctrinated with Nazi ideals, he has an imaginary friend named Adolf, a buffoonish Adolf Hitler. The Hitler youth training camp is run by the surly and conflicted Captain Klenzendorf, an injured soldier no longer able to fight who is obviously in a loving relationship with his second in command, Freddy Finkel. Though a fanatic, Jojo is nicknamed "Jojo Rabbit" after refusing to kill a rabbit to prove his worthiness. Pepped up by Adolf Hitler, he returns to prove himself, throwing a Stielhandgranate by himself that explodes at his feet, leaving him scarred and limping. His mother Rosie insists to the now-demoted Klenzendorf that Jojo still be included, making him promise to look after Jojo, so he is given small tasks like spreading propaganda leaflets and collecting scrap for the war effort.
Incorporated music in the film was packaged as a soundtrack album, notably "'Helden'", the German version of "'Heroes'" by David Bowie, and "Komm, gib mir deine Hand", the German version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles. While watching documentaries on the Hitler Youth during research, Waititi noted "similarities between the crowd at Hitler's rallies and the frenzy at Beatles concerts". Giacchino helped secure the rights to the song by contacting Paul McCartney, with whom he had previously worked. Both this soundtrack and the original score soundtrack were released on October 18, 2019, the day of Jojo Rabbit's theatrical release, by Hollywood Records, Fox Music, and Universal Music Canada, with the vinyl version of the soundtrack released on November 22.
A main motif of Jojo Rabbit is shoes. They feature frequently in the film, either visually or audibly. According to Michael, it is a metaphor symbolising Jojo's coming-of-age journey. During the scene where Jojo finds Rosie hanged, it suggests to Jojo that he should become more mature. Other motifs include the rabbit, symbolising Jojo's inability to live up to the Nazis' expectations, and the dagger, symbolising toxic masculinity. Meanwhile, dancing represents "pleasure in the face of adversity, relief when it is over, and hope for the future", as well as freedom. Nulman compares this to the misquoted phrase by Emma Goldman, "If I can't dance, it's not my revolution."
In March 2019, distributor Fox Searchlight's parent company 21st Century Fox was acquired by Disney. As Jojo Rabbit featured mature themes, several Disney executives worried that releasing the film would ruin their reputation as a family-friendly studio; it was also said to be "too edgy" for Disney, as stated in Variety. However, they remained optimistic about the film's success, with CEOs Bob Iger and Alan Horn arguing that it has a good message and would diversify their scope.
To market the film, Fox Searchlight released a scene from the German World War II film Downfall, which had been a popular asset for memes, wherein subtitles would mistranslate the dialogue to something humorous, mostly known as the Angry Hitler meme. In the Jojo Rabbit version, Hitler is driven insane with the news of Waititi, a Polynesian Jew, creating a film poking fun at Hitler. Additionally, a teaser was released on July 24, 2019, and a trailer was released on September 3, 2019. Smith Brothers Media was in charge of making visual advertisements, including posters and web banners, primarily for Australia. Due to the film's quirky nature, a "vibrant" theme was chosen to "make the character images 'pop' for potential audiences." The poster was unveiled on September 5.
Jojo Rabbit had its world premiere at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2019. It also screened at festivals at Austin, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, Hawaii, New Orleans, Chapel Hill, Middleburg, Tokyo, and the United Kingdom. It was also the closing film for the 30th Stockholm International Film Festival on November 16, 2019, which was also the film's Nordic premiere. The film was theatrically released in the United States on October 18, 2019, opening in several cities before expanding in the following weeks. By November 8, 2019, it was playing in 798 theaters in the U.S. Jojo Rabbit was released in New Zealand on 24 October 2019. In other countries, it was released within the vicinity of January and February 2020. In the United States, it remained in theaters for around 70 weeks and was last screened on March 19, 2020. A scheduled theatrical release of Jojo Rabbit in China of February 12, 2020 was confirmed, following restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to be postponed, alongside various other films by the National Arthouse Alliance of Cinemas (the film's distributor). It later saw a limited release from July 31 to August 27, 2020.
In its domestic limited opening weekend, the film made $349,555 from five theaters, an average of $69,911 per venue (the fourth-best of 2019). On its opening day alone it earned an average of $70,000, The film expanded to 55 theaters in 10 cities the following week, making $1 million, and in its third weekend it grossed $2.3 million from 256 theaters. It went wide the following weekend, making $4 million from 802 theaters. The film's theater count peaked the fifth weekend of its release, making $2.8 million from 995 theaters, before making $1.6 million in its sixth weekend. Viewership expansions were credited to Christmas and the attention it began to receive among the accolades community, surpassing $20 million as of December 19, 2019, its tenth week, at which point it was showing in 230 theaters.
A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote that "The particulars of the evil can seem curiously abstract, and the portrayal of goodness can feel a bit false, and forced" and that "Elsa's Jewishness has no real content. She exists mainly as a teaching moment for Johannes. Her plight is a chance for him to prove his bravery." Keith Uhlich of Slant Magazine criticized the film's premise, lack of historical accuracy and realism, and use of anti-semitic canards and stereotypes, and wrote that Waititi's performance as Hitler is "aiming for The Great Dictator but barely hitting Ace Ventura." Little White Lies' Hannah Woodhead criticized the film for its inclusion of a sympathetic Nazi character, Captain Klenzendorf, writing that it "feels oddly impartial, keen to note that actually, there were some Nice Nazis Too. That's not really something we need to hear in 2019, with white nationalism back in vogue and on the march across much of western civilisation."
Jojo Rabbit had an impact on teaching of the Holocaust on December 19, 2019, when the USC Shoah Foundation announced it worked together with Searchlight to develop a classroom curriculum regarding the depiction of Nazism in the film. According to the Foundation, it "demonstrates how individuals can overcome ingrained prejudices and hate" and significantly expands their catalog of Holocaust scholarly resources. This curriculum was combined with Holocaust survivors testimony videos from their Visual History Archive (VHA). These are all bundled into a landing page at the Foundation's IWitness website.
WAITITI: That's still an important movie. It doesn't matter if they regretted doing it. It still pokes holes in Nazism and fascism. And regardless of whether he knew about the camps or not, since he made the film, there have been numerous other films by filmmakers who did know, people who were still determined to make fun of these people and to make - you know, and to - the way that to combat bullying is to make fun of bullies. Yes, we do live in the safety of 2019, but...
KING: In 2019, in this country and in other countries, particularly in Europe, people are worried about Nazis again. People are worried about a nationalist resurgence and authoritarian resurgence. People are actively worried about actual Nazis.
WAITITI: Now, so we think we live in the safety of 2019. Yes, we don't have to worry about Hitler and his retribution on us for making jokes about him. I mean, this film shouldn't really need to be made. In 2019, do I really need to make a film with the heart of the message being, you shouldn't be a Nazi? At the end of World War II, there was a very clear and simple law. If you're a Nazi, you go to jail because there's no room in this world for you and those ideas. 041b061a72