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Film / Anne Frank Remembered

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Anne Frank Remembered is a 1995 documentary directed by Jon Blair.

It is, naturally, a documentary about Anne Frank (1929-1945), author of the world-famous The Diary of a Young Girl. The documentary, using a fairly standard format, sketches out the history of the Frank family. Otto Frank serves in the German army in World War I before marrying Edith Hollander. They have daughters Margot and Anne in Germany but flee for Holland after the 1933 Nazi takeover.

The Nazis conquer Holland in 1940, however, and after enduring two years of increasingly brutal anti-Semitism, the Frank family hides in the "Secret Annex", a hidden apartment over Otto Frank's spice business. There Anne spends two years writing the diary that would become one of the most famous memoirs in the history of the world. After two years of hiding the Franks and the other Jews hiding in the apartment are discovered and arrested by the Germans in 1944. Of the eight people living the cramped apartment, only Otto Frank survives the war.

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The film includes interviews with Miep Gies, Otto Frank's employee who helped hide the family, neighbors and schoolmates who knew Anne Frank in Amsterdam, and prisoners who saw her in both Auschwitz and Belsen (where she died in February or March of 1945). Also included is archival interview footage of Otto Frank, who died in 1980 at the age of 80.


Tropes:

  • Book Burning: A stock footage clip of Germans burning books used to demonstrate Nazi repression.
  • Bookcase Passage: The stairs to the Secret Annex were hidden behind a bookcase against the wall, which swung on a hinge.
  • Documentary: Of the life of Anne Frank and the creation of her famous diary.
  • Dutch Angle: The stock footage clips of Auschwitz are tilted from the vertical.
  • Gorn: Stock footage of the bodies strewn around Belsen after it was liberated by the British.
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  • The Ken Burns Effect: Used frequently, like a zoom in on a wedding photo of Otto and Edith Frank, a zoom out from Otto to reveal a photo of the whole family, and other instances.
  • Narrator: Kenneth Branagh provides narration. Glenn Close reads passages from Anne Frank's diary.
  • Stock Footage: Lots, illustrating the Nazi conquest of Europe, the roundup of Jews in Amsterdam, the horrors of Auschwitz and Belsen, and other points. Also, the archival interviews of Otto Frank. The ending shows a 1941 home movie of a wedding that included a seven-second clip of Anne Frank, watching from her balcony.
  • Talking Heads: Lots of talking head interviews with people who knew Anne Frank. Werner Pfeffer, surviving son of Fritz Pfeffer who lived in the annex, is interviewed just a couple of months before his death from cancer.
  • The Unreveal: The film notes that no one knows who betrayed the residents of the Secret Annex to the Germans.note 
  • The Voice: Director Jon Blair is never seen but can be heard offscreen asking questions, and occasionally providing Miep Gies with the right English word.
  • Voiceover Letter:
    • The diary entries play this way, as Frank wrote most of her entries as messages to an imaginary "Dear Kitty".
    • Additionally, Otto Frank's nephew reads his postcards to his mother, sent as he was making his way back home after liberation.
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