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A Modern Take on Anne Frank’s Holocaust Saga Wows Cannes

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09.07.2021

In 2013, Justin Bieber created a media furor after he visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and wrote in the guestbook that he believed Anne “would have been a Belieber.” Eight years later, the “What Do You Mean” singer makes a very brief appearance, a delicious in-joke, in Ari Folman’s Where Is Anne Frank, a new animated film aimed at a family audience, which retells the story of the teenager from a modern perspective.

Though the film, which made its premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, stops short of supposing which modern popstars Anne would have stanned if she were alive today, it does essentially bring the character to life in the modern era, by dreaming up a scenario whereby Kitty, Anne’s imaginary friend to whom her diary was addressed, comes to life off the page and falls in with a group of refugees. As Kitty gets to grips with the ways in which the world has changed since the 1940s, she also relives the experiences of Anne as her family went into hiding. The result is a film of terrific scope, dynamism and humanity, which occasionally takes a turn for the didactic and gloopy.

Where Is Anne Frank is set, a card tells us at the beginning, in a time “a week from now.” In a beautifully drawn Amsterdam viewed from its skyline, we descend toward the Anne Frank House, where tourists queue outside the door. By the entrance to the museum, beside the canal, a group of........

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