Jojo Rabbit – What’s the Difference?

published on July 2, 2020

Heil Hitler

>> Heil Hitler

>> Heil Hitler

>> Heil Hitler

>> Heil Hitler

>> Heil Hitler

>> Heil Hitler

>> Heil Hitler

>> We discussed some truly transformative
adaptations on this show, but

today's episode features one of
the most extreme cases to date,

Taika Waititi 2019 dark
comedy Jojo Rabbit

>> Thank you

>> Jojo Rabbit is a coming of age story
set in Germany during the last year of

World War Two

It follows Johanns an enthusiastic
zealot of the Third Reich whose hateful

ideology is challenged after he discovers
Elsa a Jewish girl hidden in zone

by his anti Nazi mother

The film is a self proclaimed anti hate
satire that wears Taika's penchant for

absurdist characters and heartbreaking
sincerity proudly on its sleeve

>> I must have been to swastika so,

I think that's a pretty
good sign right there

>> The film caught some criticism for
portraying Nazis as hapless goofballs,

and for glossing over
the horrors of the Holocaust,

but Taika maintains its satirical
tone is intended to engage children

in conversations about
the fallacies of hate

>> Look

>> Book however has no such goals in mind,

Caging Skies by Christine Leunens
is a sober look at Nazi ideology

It explores themes of obsession,

toxic masculinity bolstered
by nationalistic ideals

And by no means is communicant tone,

which makes the film adaptation
all the more compelling

>> None of this should be weird
>> So how did Taika flip the book's bleak

examination of a twisted ultranationalist
into a feel-good coming of age story?

It's time to ask, what's the difference?

(Music)

>> Let's get a book and
let's go libraries are dumb

>> Taika's interest in the book was
ignited by his mother's recommendation,

by the time he got halfway through Taika
had a fully formed concept of the film

>> Yeah, this is a really good
idea what we're doing right now

>> He's not sure he even read the rest of
the novel which is not all that surprising

given the script covers less
than half of the original story

The novel begins during the annexation
of Austria arrests are made teachers

are replaced and our protagonist Johan
Smeltzer really takes to Hitler in his

Nazi propaganda
>> because this is pretty cool

>> Take us film takes place only
during the final year of the war

So the rise of Hitler is distilled into
a satiric title sequence likening his

popularity to Beatlemania

(Sound)
>> Tetetuwa Jojo is ten years old and

remains ten throughout the film, which by
some emotional sway over the audience

Conversely, Johan spends much
of the book as a young adult,

he's old enough to take responsibility for
his thoughts and actions,

thus he ends up being far less
likeable than his movie counterpart

>> Taika keeps us rooting for
Jojo's innocence by personifying

the Nazi ideology in an imaginary friend
named Adolf played by Taika himself

So when Adolf expresses Nazi narcissism,

the audience is able to direct their
anger towards Adolf rather than the boy

>> Do not let your German
brain been busted around

>> I won't let her boss my German
brain around, mein fuhrer

>> Try not to

>> But Adolf is not the only
character created for the movie,

Captain Klenzendorf door sub
officer Finkel and Fraulein Rahm,

all poke fun at the absurdities
of hate and war

>> Just go shoot anybody
who looks different to us

>> Okay
>> Okay

(Laugh)
>> Yorki

>> Jojo's affable friend is
an adaptation of Kippy in the novel

Kippy, though is killed in a bomb blast
pretty early on whereas Yorki's constant

survival becomes a running
gag in the film

>> Seems like I can never die

>> No, the book doesn't feature
many Nazi characters, instead,

the focus is on Johans'
his immediate family

His relationship with his father erodes
overheated philosophical arguments,

his mother treats him like a child but
eventually grows to fear him

It's the grandmother Pemmi who
connects most with Johan and

encourages him to be a good German

>> Johan I'm so proud of you

>> Jimmy is dropped
completely from the film and

Jojo's father has already disappeared

something that happens
much later in the book

This leaves Jojo's mother Rosie to take
on the traits of everyone in the family

>> It reminds me of dancing with Rosy and
the red senal, do you remember honey?

Or is it babe?

>> Filma also sheds more light on her
activities as part of the resistance

She's shown spreading
the rebellions message and

comforts elsewhere in her hideaway,
something we never see in the book

>> There's no room in Hitler's army for
those that lack strength

>> The film's title is derived from
the scene, during a Hitler Youth Camp,

where Jojo was ridiculed by the older kids
after refusing to kill an innocent animal

They call him a scared little
rabbit attacking his masculinity,

however he never falters in the book,

not even when he is ordered to
step on a pen full of baby chicks

He's a yes man, but Jojo has to
prove his masculinity in the movie

So with encouragement of Adolf he
commitedly bangles a grenade throw

This lands and

back at home injured with a scarred body
that Jojo actually wears pretty well

He's like Harry Potter
levels of a durably scarred,

>> Being a dedicated soldier in the book

Johans gets caught in an area a nearby
explosion costs So my cheek bone and

his left forearm

>> Not even the fuhrer could love me now

>> Both Jojo and the literary Johans find
themselves spending more time at home,

which brings us to the elephant in
the room, a girl in the wall, crawlspace

Elsa Korr I'm sorry, Elsa retains the
spirit of hope from her book counterpart

but takes on new qualities to pull
Jojo back from the brink of hate

>> Ridiculous

>> In the film, she pokes holes and
jojos believe through cutting retorts

>> We are like you but human

>> Absurdist claims

>> We can read each other's minds

>> And sometimes even physical domination

>> Break free, break free Grit Aaron,
there are no weak Jews

>> But Elsa who is in her early 20s is
much too frail to take on a 16 year old

Johans

She never takes it upon herself to
sway him from his Nazi fanaticism

Instead, her story is one
of personal survival,

as she clings to life by a thread

>> You want me to tell you about the Jews?

>> The relationship in the film is kicked
off by Jojo's plan to pumper her for

information about her people

But his motives for spending time with
her eventually give way to boyhood crush,

in an unlikely friendship
starts to blossom

The book takes a darker path in their
relationship, Johanns isn't looking for

a source now he's just fascinated
with having a Jewish woman in prison

At first he lust after Elsa
lust mutates into obsession and

control is mistaken for love

Yeah, it's it gets her skin crawling

>> Heil Hitler

>> One of the most tense scenes from the
film is absent from the novel the Gestapo

drops in for

a search finding Elsa who poses as
Jojo's late sister to avoid suspicion

>> I don't suppose I
could see papers could I

>> Gestapo has a presence in the book but

their searches never
successfully locate Elsa,

who moves into a small coffin like space
beneath the floorboards to avoid capture

But an opportunistic Johanns uses her new
quarters to further manipulate her into

loving him

Ultimately, both mediums
reached the end of the war

In the film Jojo reflects on his
loyalty to the Nazi Party, and

gives a swift kick to Adolf and
all the ideals he represented

The same really can't be said for
the book, while Johans does become

disillusioned after Hitler's cowardly
demise, his views don't change

In fact, it's those views that drive him
further into isolation as other countries

occupy Vienna, both Jojo and Johans are
heartbroken and uncertain of the future,

thus he tells the same selfish
line to Elsa in both mediums

>> Who won the war?

>> We did

>> It's a crushing moment that's
ultimately fleeting in the movie,

a childish knee jerk reaction that
unravels shortly after its toll

(Sound)
>> As Taika's story nears its end the book

is only halfway done, Johan's convinces
also that Germany won the war for

over three years

In that time they have a twisted
romance built on abuse and

trauma until they resent each other so
much he finally tells her the truth

(Music)

The film ends with our protagonist dancing
freely in the streets as the allies were

victorious over Hitler's forces JoJo's
humanity wins over nationalism, it's

a feel good ending that shows children
the dangers of ideas based on hate

(Sound) Books ending is pretty bleak,

Johanns is left alone in a small
apartment after Elsa free

He never learns his lesson about hate or
the true meaning of love

So when it's all said and done, both the
film and the book conclude that a path of

narcissism and
hates leads to a lonely defeat

(Sound)
>> There you have it, Taika pulls out all

the stops in steering this adaptation
from the dark out into the light

He turns a twisted narrator
into a heartwarming protagonist

alters the tone with satire and ends
on a hopeful message that speaks to our

own modern struggle with anti-semitism and
white nationalist

That's it for this episode,
what did you think of Taika's adaptation?

Sound off in the comments below
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