TIFF 2021: Where is Anne Frank? dir. Ari Folman

Waltz with Bashir directot Ar Folman delivers a poignant animated feature, that touches on some important concepts, and ideas. Kitty is the imaginary friend that Anne Frank wrote to in her diary, pouring her thoughts and feelings, while documenting the events of her life, including two years of living in hiding from the Nazis during the horrific genocidal events of the Holocaust.

Conjured into existence in the Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam, springing from the text of Anne’s treasured book, Kitty enters the present day world, unaware of the passage of time, and is determined to find her friend. What she discovers is a world where Anne has become an icon, her history, her book sacrosanct, while its essence, its dream, its heart, and message have seemed to have been forgotten.

Kitty sees in the modern refugee’s plight, echoes of the forced relocation that drove Jews from Germany, she sees their villification even as she discovers new friends, and perhaps even love among them.

Worshipping something as an icon (or a religion) while ignoring and willfully not embracing its message feels very relevant in today’s society, and Kitty, and Anne’s words, both brought to heartrending life with Folman’s animation remind us of what is really important; life, love, kindness.

How can we celebrate the life of a young girl (or prophet, messiah, etc.) while ignoring their message, and the meaning behind their words?

Where is Anne Frank? is a tear-streaked look at horrific events then and now, and what it would take to change them. Beautiful, touching, and oh, so very relevant.

Where is Anne Frank? screens one last time at TIFF, digitally, on Saturday.

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