In a coming of age story about a Hitler Youth that is equal parts “Life Is Beautiful” and Monty Python, “JOJO RABBIT” addresses its serious subject head on through the wide, impressionable eyes of its 10-year-old protagonist (Roman Griffin Davis). After discovering the Jewish teen his mother is hiding in the attic, Jojo’s relationships with reality and with his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, begin to shift dramatically.

Favorite scene: “I love the scenes we shot inside Elsa’s [Thomasin McKenzie] hiding place in the small attic adjacent to Inga’s bedroom, a particularly challenging location. But having the luxury of building the set allowed us to make it fit our needs perfectly.”

Genesis of the shot: “I remember long discussions about what the light source would be inside the space and how to show the time of day. We made some vent holes at the edge of the roof that allowed us to have some daylight come through. We all agreed that during night time, Elsa would have a candle or a petrol lamp. That immediately made me think of‘Barry Lyndon’ and how amazing it would be to try to use a candle or a petrol lamp as the main light source.”

Making it work: “Taika likes to improvise a lot, but he is a very collaborative person. Our approach for most of the scenes was: rehearse, block and shoot; we only storyboarded the battle scenes. That gave the actors a lot of freedom but also gave us the opportunity to observe and get lots of ideas from them. Shooting wide open at T1.0 can be very challenging for focus, especially when you want to give the actors freedom of movement. The hiding place was pretty small, so I knew they will be limited in their movement and the light source would have to be pretty close to the actors. It all turned out great.”

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