Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi: I wanted humour with a deeper message

Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi: I wanted humour with a deeper message

New Zealand-born filmmaker says he wants to use satire 'to fight hate and racism' as movie came out in cinemas on 1 January

Taika Waititi has said he wanted to bring “humour to a story that has a deeper message” with his Nazi satire Jojo Rabbit.

The film follows a 10-year-old member of Hitler Youth, whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler.

The little boy is horrified when he discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic.

Waititi, who previously directed Thor: Ragnarok and What We Do In The Shadows, told the PA news agency: “I don’t think I’m really capable of doing a gritty drama, that is not really my style, that is not what I’m known for and it’s not really anything I’m interested in.

“So I just brought my style of storytelling to this film and I think what is great is it’s following in a long tradition of satires and people using humour to fight hate and to fight racism, so I feel like I’m in good company.”

Waititi, who also appears in the film as a goofy version of the Fuhrer, added: “Most dictators and figures of hate and bullies, they are quite narcissistic, and I think. when you poke fun at them. they can’t take it, they can’t stand it, which is why the president of the United States will take time away from running the country to tweet to celebrities who hassle him on Twitter – he just can’t handle the idea of being laughed at.”

The director’s father is Maori and his mother is Jewish, and has occasionally used his mother’s maiden name – Cohen – when making films. He said the rise of hate speech around the world means the film feels more relevant now then when he wrote the script, adding: “What is good, I guess, is it’s more important now, that this film is out there, and it’s more important that people see it.”

Asked if he was nervous about how it would be received, he said: “I guess with every film you have got that nervousness, that people might not get it or that it might not be received as well as you hope, but I like to think I’ve still got a good grasp on my film-making and how to make a good film in my style.

“I test the films a lot before I release them and I watch them a lot and I watched the film and I thought ‘OK, this film is pretty good’, and so it passed my test.”

  •   Jojo Rabbit was released in UK cinemas on January 1.
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