Anne Frank Remembered (Jon Blair)

Rating: **1/2 (out of ****)

Anne Frank Largely Forgotten is more like it. This subject cried out for a treatment similar to the one Paul Cox employed for Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh, in which John Hurt recited the text of Vincent's literate, moving letters to his brother Theo, while images of Van Gogh's art and of the Dutch countryside filled the screen. Instead, Blair opts for the tried-and-true talking heads format, interviewing every person still alive with even the most tenuous connection to Frank; incredibly, Anne's diary -- the only reason she's more than just one more number in a horrific statistic -- is paid little attention (though Blair did hire Glenn Close to read a few tiny excerpts...a strange choice, since Anne was all of 15 when she died). The latter half of the two-hour film frequently loses sight of its eponymous subject altogether, becoming a somewhat moving but generic and undistinguished Holocaust memorial. I learned more about Anne's life by playing her dad in the mediocre play based on her diary (and don't bother asking why a teenaged Italian was cast as a middle-aged Jew -- that's high school theater in a nutshell). If you'd never heard of Anne Frank prior to reading this review, it might be a worthwhile experience to see this documentary; if you've read the diary, there's definitely no need to bother.