Le Journal d'Anne Frank (The Diary Of Anne Frank) - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Other
  • MSRP: 34.91 Euro
  • Running time: 88
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 PAL
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Le Journal d'Anne Frank

Le Journal d'Anne Frank (The Diary Of Anne Frank)

    January 11, 2003
Release Date: June 12, 2000

What They Say
Amsterdam, June 12 1942. Anne celebrates her 13th birthday and begins her diary, which she calls �Kitty�. Hiding for two years from the German threat, the young girl writes about her idealistic views on the world, her ambitions, her fears and her first love, Peter.

The Review!
Released By: Citel Video

Many people will probably be bothered by the absence of anything but a French audio track on this disc, but as this was a French re-cut of the original movie, there is simply no other source material available for this version. The acting is absolutely first rate, though as a Dutch native speaker, I did chuckle a couple of times at how the French voice actors massacred some of the names. It makes me kind of curious how the Japanese version sounded. The loss of the original soundtrack by Michael Nyman of �The Piano� fame is also a great pity, but fortunately the new music by Carine Gutlerner, deeply immersed in traditional Jewish music and supremely elegiac, more than makes up for that loss.

Without a doubt this has to be the best European transfer of an anime I have seen so far. Not a hint of noise, scratches, rainbowing or unwanted freeze frames during layer switching that have plagued some other French releases. The animation, befitting its subject matter, is not flashy, but the colour scheme is so rich and delicate that every moment of the movie is a visual feast. The background art of �Anne Frank no Nikki� is in my humble opinion second to none, even surpassing some of Ghibli�s best work.

A simple, but stylish image of Anne sitting at her desk, with Amsterdam in the background. Again, taste wins over flash. The Special Edition box set has the same image on a diary-like cardboard box, bound together by a ribbon.

An animation of the diary being opened, with the different headings written on the right page. Each submenu usually has a bit of animation from the movie, cleverly disguised as a framed photograph or an open window.

A good selection of historical background data. Files on each member of the Frank family and the fate that befell them. An interview (conducted in English) with Anne Frank�s sole surviving cousin. A short documentary on the making of the new soundtrack (not subtitled). Still gallery and press clipping. The video clip �Anne Ma Soeur Anne� by French artist Louis Chedid. Of particular interest is the explanation on the different versions of the diary. Even during her lifetime, Anne had made two drafts of her diary: one for her personal day-to-day confidences, and one for eventual publication (she had the ambition of becoming a journalist). The existence of these divergent versions would later lead to some very unhealthy revisionist forgery claims.
The Special Edition includes a booklet with historical data and the soundtrack CD.

Spoilers? You should know this story by now anyway�
There have been several movie adaptations of Anne Frank�s Diary, that most widely read and most deeply personal account of the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War, but none of them have had the integrity and naked emotional impact of this animated movie.

�Le Journal d�Anne Frank� is a French re-cut by director Julian Y. Wolfe of the original Japanese animated movie by Akinori Nagaoka and studio Mad House. It is therefore an edited version, and some anime purists , associating edits with things like �Robotech� or �Battle Of The Planets�, may therefore decide to forego this movie based solely on that point. I have never seen the original �Anne Frank no Nikki�, I have no direct basis for comparison. From what I�ve heard, no actual scenes have been cut, but the sequence of events has been reshuffled somewhat to be closer to the actual chronology of the diary. Sound fragments from a BBC radio broadcast and a speech by Churchill have also been incorporated into the movie to further heighten historical veracity. All in all, this is a re-cut that has been carried out with equal respect for both the original movie and the real diary, and is therefore worthy of even the most demanding moviegoer�s attention.

Anne Frank�s Diary is one of the great testaments of the twentieth century. So often discussed, analysed, scrutinized, glorified and enforced as required reading upon pupils that in the end people have forgotten that this was once the living, breathing journal of an ordinary teenage girl born in the worst of times (much as many people have forgotten that the Old Testament was once the racial memory of an entire people). Little has been helped by previous movie adaptations, which, in accordance with Hollywood doctrine, have sanctified Anne as a pure, unblemished martyr, the very essence of destroyed innocence, looking as Jewish as Shirley Temple. However, this animation deals not with the symbol Anne Frank, but with the child Anne, the headstrong adolescent with an inflated opinion of herself, fighting against a confinement that is as much physical as it is psychological. Every teenager feels trapped by his surroundings, by the safe boundaries his parents have built up to protect him/her against the outside wo
This preoccupation with Anne�s puberty may seem a bit unusual to western viewers. After all, with a war going on, one would expect there are more important preoccupations. But the theme of adolescence has always been one of the most prevalent among Japanese interpretations of the diary. The Japanese translation of the diary was in fact the first account available in the Japanese language in which a young girl would talk openly about the physical developments of her body. The book spoke so directly to Japanese teenage girls that in the end the �time of the month� would even get the nickname of �Anne�s day�.

Besides adolescence, �Anne Frank no Nikki� also emphasizes other less pleasant elements which previous adaptations hardly touched upon, such as Anne�s sour relationship with her mother or the family�s final arrest by the Germans (which makes it quite clear that they have been betrayed by someone with very precise information about them, possibly one of the very people who helped them go underground). In the end, the movie achieves a perfect balance between the omnipresent threat of persecution and common teenage angst.

The animation doesn�t rely upon visual fireworks, but upon a profound observation of human body language. Look at the scene in which Anne first opens her diary: with deliberate slowness she pulls off the cap of her pen, then cocks her head pensively before writing the first words.

If in the end �Le Journal d�Anne Frank� doesn�t have the same deep emotional impact as �Grave Of The Fireflies�, it is because there is no actual confrontation with death in the end. There is only a short, on-screen description of her tragic fate. At the movie�s finale, white doves fly over Amsterdam. Images of peace? Of hope? Or of departing souls?

French Language,English Subtitles,Historical Background,Music Documentary,Interview,Still Gallery

Review Equipment
Pioneer DV-525 player, DC-Z73 Amplifier


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