UK, 1995 (MIFF 1995, Documentaries)
Director: Jon Blair
Anne Frank has been described as one of the "major icons of the twentieth century" with her diary the second most-read book of Western non-fiction after the bible.
Jon Blair's film is effective in placing Anne's story firmly in its twentieth century context. This is not just her life in Holland and her death in a Nazi concentration camp, but the impact the diary has had in the half-century since.
The film uses the major conventions of documentary—interviews with people who knew her, archive footage filming today on relevant locations including the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. Its impact comes from the freshness of the material that has been incorporated.
Most striking is the range of new material, including a snippet of Anne Frank on film, and postcards written by her father Otto while still searching for her after the war, and only re-discovered in May 1994.
One of the participants is a woman who worked in the building that was the hiding place of the Frank family, and who describes the events surrounding the family's discovery by the Gestapo.
Much of the film in fact covers events outside the scope of Anne's diary, including attempts by right-wing groups to discredit it. The range of the film, and its direct clear approach to its material effectively builds a strong, emotional impact.