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The Schmooze

‘JoJo Rabbit’ Hitler Satire Trailer Asks: Can Hitler Be Funny?

Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. It’s not funny.

Unless you’re a fan of “The Producers,” the Broadway musical that spoofed Hitler and the S.S. to great success with Jews and non-Jews.

Jewish and Maori director and all around likable guy Taika Waititi aims for the same gracious response Mel Brooks enjoyed, with the new “JoJo Rabbit.” Based on the novel “Caging Skies,” Waititi adapted and directed “JoJo,” in which he also stars as a version of Hitler, and the imaginary friend of a new recruit to the Hitler youth. That boy, JoJo, has “blind fanaticism” for the Nazi cause, until he meets the little Jewish girl his mother (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding in the attic.

“You’re a Jew!” JoJo gasps.

“Gesundheit!” snaps the Jewish girl.

It’s hard to tell if this is going to be an exercise in hipster tastelessness, a saccharine rehab for Germanic-looking blonde people, or something brilliant.

We’ll have to wait to see it to say, as the song in the trailer (almost) goes, “Ich bin ein Gläubiger” — “I’m a believer.”

Correction, September 8, 6:05 p.m.: [Taika Waititi is Maori, not Aboriginal, as this article originally stated.]

Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny


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