Anne Frank's Diary

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Julian Wolff

REVIEWED: 12-28-99

Perhaps no account of the Holocaust is more universal than the diary left behind by a young girl who, with her family and several strangers, hid in an attic for more than two years, only to be captured by the Nazis. In film and stage versions of the story, Anne has always been portrayed as a meek but intelligent, well-behaved girl. Julia Wolff has made an animated version that includes some events that were originally edited out of the published diary. Wolff's version explores Anne's struggle to stand up for herself, as well as other emotional issues not portrayed in more saccharine versions. We see Anne's concern over her sister Margot's jealousy; her time with Peter, the shy teenager cooped up with them; her joy at experiencing her first period, and her frustration as she outgrows her clothing, the boredom that eclipses her fear. Most of all, the heartbreaking naïveté of a teenager whose dreams of becoming a journalist are dashed when the SS finds the family. Wolff's compositions of exteriors and interiors are painterly and evocative, and despite clumsy dialogue and melodramatic characters, this version of the Diary is moving and accessible, even though we know how it all turns out.

--Peg Aloi

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