Using previously unreleased archival material in addition to contemporary interviews, this academy award-winning documentary tells the story of the Frank family and presents the first ...
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Using previously unreleased archival material in addition to contemporary interviews, this academy award-winning documentary tells the story of the Frank family and presents the first fully-rounded portrait of their brash and free-spirited daughter Anne, perhaps the world's most famous victim of the Holocaust.Written by
Dawn M. Barclift
The most moving documentary to come out of the 1990's
I first saw this documentary at the theater when it first came out in the spring of 1996, albeit in a limited art-house release in selected cities (thank God Chicago was one of them). I happened to see it at the famed "Music Box Theater" on Southport Avenue in Chicago to a packed audience (the same theater John Cusack takes his date to on "High Fidelity"). After the credits were over, the audience was so dumbstruck, not a soul moved or said a word until the theater staff turned on all the lights and dropped the curtains -- it was as if people wanted to stay and talk about it. But alas, that wasn't part of the program, and we shuffled off deep in our thoughts, although a few of us caught up later at the coffeeshop next door to talk about it. It was that moving.
This is the best documentary on Anne Frank I have ever seen, and is one of the best documentaries to come out of the 1990's. It should not be missed, and should be revisted as often as possible. Kenneth Branagh's narration is gripping and beyond comparison. The tranche de la vie recounting of Anne's as well as her friends' childhood experiences from her former playmates are extremely moving.
One of my favorite scenes in this documentary was the meeting filmed in 1995 between Dr. Fritz Pfeffer's (called Albert Dussel by Anne in her diary) son, Mr. Pepper, and Miep Gies. When he said "vielen Dank" to Miep Gies for hiding his father, there wasn't a dry eye in the house, especially when it was revealed that the son later died just weeks after the meeting.
The most moving scene, however, was the serendipitously acquired 8mm black-and-white home movie footage of a wedding filmed in June of 1941 on the Merwedeplein in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (the Franks moved to Amsterdam from Frankfurt a.M., Germany in 1933).
In the footage, as the bride and groom emerge from the entrance of a three-flat townhouse, the camera pans upward and catches a waving 12-year-old girl waving happily from a second-floor window. The girl is Anne Frank, and is the only motion picture footage of her known to be existence. Anne's brief bout with the silver screen continues to be one of the most haunting reminders of what could've been, hope unfulfilled, and the tragedy that was the Holocaust. A must see for all those interested in history.
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