Ari Folman brings Kitty, Anne’s imaginary friend, to life in the Where Is Anne Frank animated movie. The Waltz with Bashir director interweaves two periods to narrate the story of Anne Frank from a tween-friendly perspective.
The story starts with lightning striking Anne’s diary, which awakens Kitty’s flesh and blood version in modern Amsterdam. According to her, no time has passed, so she starts to look for Frank’s family. But she encounters visitors in the house, which she cannot understand.
Kitty then discovers that she cannot survive without having the book close to her, so she steals it. She causes a public child hunt when the authorities realize that someone stole the book. While this is taking place, Kitty tries to find out what happened to her best friend, Anne.
Ari Folman gives this past story a modern context illuminating the Holocaust in the present life. The protagonist finds herself amid a house full of refugees about to be deported to their respective countries. She realizes that people have not yet understood the story and its true message.
With the film’s title appearing in posters all over Amsterdam printed in the red-checked pattern as in the diary, the message should be understood and bring a difference. Moreover, Anne Frank’s name is engraved in the museum, theater, bridge, and other strategic places, but still, Kitty witnesses police rounding up immigrants as a minority group to be mistreated.
These occurrences compel her to call out to all Amsterdam residents through the statement, “Anne did not write this story for you to worship her.” but so that they can draw from it and help other people when they can.
Surprisingly, Where Is Anne Frank animated film portrays the character as an angry, frustrated, and anxious girl rather than a gracious child. She even fights with her parents and raves for boys’ attention.
The animated film incorporates different modern aspects of life to make it digestible for young people. For example, in one scene, we see some schoolkids watching YouTube videos during Anne Frank’s Stage play production, which Kitty interrupts, grabbing people’s attention. Folman also lets Kitty into ice skate chases and even falls in love.
All these aspects make the film easy to connect with the current generation. Moreso, to the kids at 12 years old and above such that they will get enriched with Anne Frank’s message. While executing all these, Folman is still able to capture and integrate every emotion from happiness to sadness flawlessly.
Unlike other films based on Anne Frank’s diary, this animated movie focuses on Anne’s view of the current world where her name is popular and treasured, but only a few people recall why they learned it.
“What could be more helpful than my memories?” Anne asks Kitty. These were her gift to the world. Folman perfectly displays this in the film in a way that will continue to remind future generations of their value.
Where Is Anne Frank launched in Cannes Film Festivals and is seeking distribution in the US currently. It’s a great option for kids and adults, too, since it offers important life lessons across all.