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ANNE FRANK REMEMBERED

Review by Chastity Campbell

Narrators: Kenneth Branagh, Glenn Close
Director: Jon Blair
Video: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Release Date: March 9, 2004

Film ****

I can remember showing up for school one day, and having the teacher tell us that we would be watching a video during history class.  She didnít explain what it was that we would be seeing, only that it was a very important part of world history. 

I can remember watching The Diary Of Anne Frank on video all those years ago, and not understanding much of what I saw.  Nor did I understand what her story truly represented.  Viewing this DVD gave me so much more information and understanding about what life was like for this very special girl, and how much depth this one amazing person had at such an early age. 

Maybe I was too young to understand everything her story was telling me back then or maybe the teacher didnít do a good enough job explaining things.  I only know that Anne Frank Remembered has etched a picture in my mind of a time and place that even to this day is hard to comprehend.

This DVD features interviews with Anneís father, who unlike his wife and daughters survived the horrors of the Holocaust.   Miep Gies was one of the people responsible for helping the Franks hide.  In her interviews she gives very detailed information about Anne and her family.  She remembers Anne as a very rambunctious, and energetic girl who begged for paper to write on while in hiding.

One of Anneís girlhood friends was taken to the same concentration camp that she and her sister Margot were.  She remembers being separated from Anneís barracks by a fence, and having to wait until evening to speak with her friend so they would not be seen.  She was among one of the last people to speak with the young girl, and at that time she knew that Anneís spirit had died.  Anne believed her entire family to be dead, and with no one to live for she gave up hope. 

The diary itself tells a story, but itís only a piece to the complex puzzle that was this girl, and the times she lived in.   There are so many branches to her story you will want to watch this DVD time and again to catch it all.  

This DVD is narrated by the smooth and easy voice of Kenneth Branagh.  The voice of Anne is given life by Glenn Close.  Both do a wonderful job of capturing your attention and weaving these peopleís story in a way that will make you laugh at her precociousness and cry because of her situation. 

History buffs will not be the only people who will benefit from this DVD.   Every man, woman and child should be required to view this piece of history.

Video ***

The video quality of this DVD was superb.   The video footage and still photographs from the 1940ís were, despite the images they contained, beautiful.  All footage provided for this presentation was in black and white which removes a layer for me to review, but I have no doubt had their been color footage it would have been equally as good. 

The more recent interview segments were very nicely done, both during the shooting process as well as the lighting.  

Audio ***

This DVD sported a Dolby Digital Surround mix that to the best of my hearing contained only one or two noticeable flaws.  All levels were balanced with no dips or dropouts audible.  The narrators were set against a backdrop of 1940ís European style music which helped lend to the realistic feel this DVD had.

Features **

This DVD contains interactive menus, scene selection, and subtitles in English as well as Spanish.

Movie trailers for Anne Frank Remembered, Blind Spot: Hitlerís Secretary, Dark Blue World and Divided We Fall are included for your viewing pleasure.

All of the films listed seem to deal with World War II, from varying perspectives and points of view. 

Summary:

Anne Frank Remembered is one of the most poignant stories ever told, with good packaging, nice features, and beautifully done audio.  I give this DVD some of my highest marks, and once youíve made it a part of your collection, you will too.