Where is Anne Frank works fine as a film but this one is geared more so for children than adults when it comes to Holocaust education.
This film depicts Kitty (Ruby Stokes), the imaginary person that Anne Frank (Emily Carey) was writing to in her diary, coming to life in Amsterdam some 75 years after Anne was arrested and sent to her death. There are flashbacks to the past even though the film is set in present day. Kitty has no idea that it’s present day when she wakes up. First, Kitty starts at the Annex, which is now home to the museum. Ultimately, Kitty traces Anne’s story to her tragic death during the Holocaust. At the same time Kitty is traveling through Europe with Peter (Ralph Prosser), who runs a shelter for undocumented refugees. This brings me to another thing, Kitty wants to fulfill Anne’s cause, which includes speaking out against the injustices that child refugees have to deal with. The recent acts in Afghanistan come to mind.
This film has a lot going for it. One, bringing Kitty to life as the protagonist and narrator. Two, finding a way to connect both the past and present. It’s through finding out what happened to Anne Frank in which Kitty learns about what’s happening today. We’ve read the news over previous news. Refugees have been arriving in mass to Europe. Some have gone onto make documentaries about their stories. But at the same time, the rising European antisemitism has led to an increasing number of Jews leaving Europe for Israel. This rising tide of antisemitism cannot be ignored.
Adults, if you don’t like this film, that’s okay because it’s not for you. It’s for your children that might not have much education on the Holocaust. Recent numbers have shown that a lot of people are not being educated about the Holocaust so films like Where is Anne Frank is a good thing. It might not be the best film in the world but I’m not complaining. What’s important is that the film serves as a gateway to learning about the Holocaust. Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the diary’s first publication. It would later lead to the 1956 Broadway play and subsequent 1959 George Stevens-directed film.
This film was commissioned by Anne Frank Fonds, the foundation that was set up by Otto Frank. It’s an ambitious film that took many years of development. They tapped Ari Folman to write and direct. Ultimately, this film works as an introduction to history, the Holocaust, and discrimination–yes, this includes antisemitism at a time when the Jew-hatred is terrible. Jews cannot even post photos from brunch without getting death threats on social media. And yet, these threats do not seem to go against community standards! But anyway, this film shows how the discrimination taking place in the 1930s is still here today. There were boycotts against Jews then and there are still boycotts against Jews today. I can honestly go on and on. It’s reprehensible and disgusting!
Holocaust education is an important thing to take away from watching Where is Anne Frank because if we do not learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Ari Folman
CAST: Ruby Stokes, Emily Carey
Where is Anne Frank screens during the 2021 Animation is Film Festival.
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