Where Is Anne Frank Introduces a New Generation to a Story That Should Never be Forgotten

Having been released in a number of European countries since 2021, the heartfelt Where is Anne Frank finally comes to Ireland. And what a treat it is. A visually stunning and breathtakingly original animation style combines with a poignant tale of discovery and understanding.

The film centres around the character of Kitty, a young redheaded girl, brought to life from the diary of Anne Frank. Anne’s once imaginary friend is awoken in the modern world, confused by her whereabouts and even more confused about Anne’s whereabouts. Throughout this story we are interwoven through the connecting tales of Anne, writing her diary and going through all that she endured in war-torn Amsterdam, and the tale of Kitty, reading the diary and learning the horrors of the Holocaust.

The message from writer and director Ari Folman, creator of the critically acclaimed Waltz with Bashir, is clear, and it is summed up towards the end of Where Is Anne Frank. The message is that one should do whatever they can to save a life. This is a strong point, a point that takes its form in a comparison between Nazi occupied Netherlands and the recent refugee crises, showing us that war and suffering, despite an 80 year difference, is no less a concern today.

The animation is very fresh, it fits into a bracket of European styled animation that clears the way for something different to the typical round style or anime aesthetics that have become the current norm. That’s what works here. Where Is Anne Frank doesn’t try to be any other film; it has a story to tell and a clear message. It’s dedicated to Folman’s parents who were Holocaust survivors, and you can see his love for this message bleed out in every frame. From beautiful ice skating sequences, to vignette styled elements that drag comedy into a dramatic tale, it all screams realism and truth, a truth that needs to be heard in our world.


The fluidity of the movements here are elegant and graceful, like ballet dancers upon a stage, adding to the gorgeous art direction of the piece. Nazi’s are depicted as white faced monstrous creatures, showing them through the fearful eyes of Anne and her family, a depiction that that really helps to create an atmosphere of foreboding within the narrative.

I found the pacing of Where Is Anne Frank effective, starting somewhat slow in the first two acts. This feels intentional as it allows the writer to focus on rounding out the character’s personalities with romantic subplots and elements of humanity. It is with this humanity that we truly feel for these people throughout, a feeling that is all the sadder upon reaching the narrative’s conclusion.

Where is Anne Frank is an extremely important film that looks at history repeating itself and the state of the world these days. The final scene is bittersweet, leaving us wanting more, but with a sense of resolution all the same. Folman manages to capture a beauty here, despite the subject matter, and manages to introduce the writings of Anne and Otto Frank to an audience that may not have previously understood or known the full story.

Although it is wrapped up in elements of fantasy, there’s enough here to hold the attention of those looking for something different in their animation adventures. We learn alongside Kitty, and that is really what works. We watch and emote with her and the rest of the cast. Where is Anne Frank captures an important aspect of reality and history. Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as a fun family outing, it is something worth watching and learning from, if only to understand the mistakes of the past and how they continue to haunt the present.

Where is Anne Frank hits cinemas August 12

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