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The Movie list

01/23/2020 10:01:13 AM


Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

Night and Fog was the first Holocaust movie I ever saw. It was a scorching black and white documentary that became the stuff of nightmares. Its theological impact cannot be discounted sending many once faithful Jews scurrying into the cold embrace of atheism.


Since then, I have seen many films on this subject as have, we all. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Europa Europa. Life is Beautiful. And of course, Schindler’s List, perhaps the greatest of the genre where nibbling popcorn or Raisinets earned you a nasty scowl. Some were fiction. Some historical. Some in color, some black and white. Some in English. Some subtitled or in a foreign language. Whatever the theme or style, it is rather remarkable that even three quarters of a century after the crushing of the Nazis, Holocaust movies are still produced. Still fresh, creative, riveting. It seems that the passage of time and the unparalleled horror have had no impact on tamping down interest in the Shoah. Though the eye witnesses and victims are dying, their stories inversely flourish even as the Third Reich dims in history. And so, I come to JoJo Rabbit and a movie review.


JoJo Rabbit did not have a great run nor was it on many screens. Didn’t make lots of money at the box office. Locally, until this past week, it was shown only in Kennesaw, I am assuming as a charitable gesture by Regal Town Center management. Perhaps an unfair critique and embarrassing observation, though actually nominated for an Academy Award, it was being screened this week at Sunrise at Huntcliff for the seniors, afternoon entertainment. How humiliating for an Oscar contender.


Folks, JoJo Rabbit is brilliant. It begins with Seinfeldian characters running a camp for Hitler youth. It takes off from that mockery of malevolence to a flawless satire that ends most perfectly. The movie is unapologetically funny and there is no guilt felt in the chortling even as we stare at swastikas on the screen. It is a stunning piece of work that soars, taking the audience from laughter to touching message in a rapid sieg heil.


JoJo Rabbit is an astonishing piece of work. See it. You will thank me.

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Tue, April 7 2020 13 Nisan 5780