The Diary of Anne Frank (2008) DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 8.0
Audio 7.5
Total 8.0
Distributor: Hopscotch
Running Time:
150 mins (5 parts)
Classification: PG
Reviewer:
Joshua Blackman

8.0


The Diary of Anne Frank (2008)

One of the most revered books in 20th century literature, The Diary of Anne Frank is an inspirational yet devastating story. Anne manages to communicate all the joys of youth – the inquisitiveness, the impetuousness, the optimism and the inability to see outside your own frame of reference – despite the atrocities occurring in the world around her. A gifted writer, the tragedy of the story – and one of the many of the Holocaust – is that a young girl with so much hope and potential could be obliterated by the most insidious genocidal regime in history. The great success of this 5-part BBC adaptation is that it lives almost entirely within her world, making the inevitable conclusion all the more powerful.  

It’s 1942 and the persecution and deportation of the Jews across mainland Europe is escalating. Anne, 13, her elder sister Margot and her parents, Jews living in Amsterdam, arrange to hide in a secret annex above her father’s old place of business. The secret entrance is hidden behind a large wooden bookcase. They are soon joined by the van Pels family, husband, wife and 16-year old son, Peter, and later by family friend Fritz Pfeffer.   

Living in such confined conditions, Anne describes her shifting and frequently strained relationships with her co-inhabitants. Outspoken and confident, she gets on well with her father (Iain Glen) but less so with her more restrained but well-intentioned mother (Black Books and Green Wing’s Tamsin Grieg). She treats Peter with contempt at first, not least because he was able to bring his cat with him and she was not, but later it evolves into something more romantic. 

Over the five half-hour episodes we get close to Anne, played by the extraordinary Ellie Kendrick, who narrates the story through frequent voiceovers which are, for once, necessary and justified. By keeping the production minimal, and telling the story in a straightforward and honest manner (it is not afraid to show the more unsavoury practicalities of living in hiding), the characters remain distinctly human. The cast is uniformly fine and believable and each episode remains remarkably contained and compelling despite, or perhaps because of, the characters’ ultimate fate. Adapted by Deborah Moggach and directed by Jon Jones, this mini series is a very worthy interpretation that can sit alongside the plethora of already existing stage and screen versions. 

This single-disc presentation, with good audio and visual quality, also contains a documentary about the “Polish Anne Frank”, Rutka Laskier, whose diary about her captivity in the Bedzin Ghetto was only recently released to the public.






 
 



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