We live a block away from TIFF, but I didn’t have the time to see this while it was there. Having said that, because of the neighbourhood we live in, I’ve heard a lot of the praise and the controversy over this film in the past couple months.

Let me begin by saying: this is a funny movie. And a sad one. I can see why people might find it offensive, but if you don’t find catharsis in Hitler being a bumbling fool with a New Zealand accent, I don’t know how to help you. 

The performances here are all excellent. I was moved by one scene that hit me harder than anything else I’ve seen this year. Somebody else here called this Inglorious Moonrise Kingdom,” and that’s a great description. It’s worth seeing, unless you’re one of the people who believes Schinder’s List is too sentimental.” 

Which brings me to something I’ve been thinking about for a few months now, and struggling to vocalize. Some people seem to think every movie about the Holocaust has to be dreary and accurate to the point of shock. As if every filmmaker needs to go full Godard and hire 20,000 extras, starve them all, and then beat them in re-created Holocaust camps before they can contribute their voices to these stories in cinema. It’s absurd, and like many other cinematic criticism, it’s gate keeping.

There is lots of space in the margins and footnotes of cinema for satire about any topic, including Nazi Germany. Jojo’s not a perfect film, and certainly not a perfect film politically. There’s a lot I could say about some of the messaging throughout that could be problematic. Many others have voiced these concerns, and I suspect will continue to do so for time immemorial. But deep concern over the political semiotics of this film is entirely misplaced, and frankly, missing the forest for the trees. 

Finally: f*** Nazis.

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