Nazi comedy wins People’s Choice award at Toronto film festival

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “raucous, audience-pleasing outrageousness.”

By World Israel News Staff 

Movies that win the People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) often become front-runners for Oscar nominations. This year’s winner was “Jojo Rabbit,” which beat out other highly regarded films such as “Marriage Story,” a divorce drama starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, and “Parasite,” a film that depicts the growing divide between the rich and poor in South Korea.

“Jojo Rabbit” is an “anti-hate” satire directed by Taika Waititi, who is best known for directing “Thor: Ragnarok.”

The movie is based on the book “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens, which is about a 10-year-old German boy who is a member of the Nazi Youth organization during World War II. The boy has an imaginary friend named Adolf Hitler, who is played by Waititi himself in the film. The boy’s enthusiasm for Nazi ideology is dampened when he discovers that his mother, played by Johansson, is hiding a Jewish girl in their house.

Despite mixed reviews by critics, it was a smash hit with audiences who screened the film at TIFF. Overwhelmingly, audiences picked “Jojo Rabbit” as their favorite film.

Waititi called winning the prestigious People’s Choice award a “tremendous honor.”

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“‘Jojo Rabbit’ is a story of tolerance and understanding set in a time that lacked both, and I hope in making this film we can remind ourselves that it’s still possible to connect with each other even under the most chaotic of circumstances — no matter what age, religion, race or gender. It was an incredible experience making this film and I’m happy the world had the opportunity to see it for the first time at TIFF,” he added.

The film was produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures, and the studio’s chairmen Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula were overjoyed by the film’s success at the festival.

”We saw firsthand how Toronto International Film Festival audiences responded to ‘Jojo Rabbit.’ We’re incredibly proud of this film, Taika and the entire filmmaking team, and the message that love can rise above evil — we can’t wait to introduce ‘Jojo Rabbit’ to the rest of the world!” they said.

The film is set to open Oct. 18. in theaters worldwide.