Film Analysis of The Diary of Anne Frank
The Diary of Anne Frank is a powerful non-fiction film based on the diary of a young Jewish girl who went into hiding with her family in 1942 to escape the Nazi persecution. Filmed in 1959, George Stevens brilliant usage of mise-en-scene successfully made this movie thought provoking and emotional. Mise-en-scene is one of the four film components that allow motion pictures to serve as a medium of communication. Films use this component to incorporate a visual theme. This encompasses everything that appears before the camera such as the arrangement of the set, props, actors, lighting, and costumes. By looking at the visual theme in this movie, we will be able to determine what makes this movie so provoking and emotional.
The Diary of Anne Frank is the story of a 13 year old Jewish girl that is forced into hiding with her family to escape the persecutions of the Jewish in the now Nazi occupied Holland. The opening scene shows Otto Frank walking into an empty factory building, looking alone and full of turmoil. Joined by friends, he begins to read Anne’s diary, attempting to seek comfort in her written words. This is where the story flashes back to three years prior, 1942. As Anne’s story begins, her sister Margot, her father Otto, and her mother Edith are being forced into hiding. Mr. Kraler and his assistant Miep help the Frank’s and the Van Daan’s (Petronella, Hans, and their 16 year old son Peter) into hiding in an attic space above their spice factory. To avoid detection, during the working hours of the factory, they must maintain strict silence so not to be heard. As a present to his daughter, Mr. Frank gives Anne her first diary. She writes about their time in the attic, attempting to avoid detection while waiting for the allies to liberate them. Meeting their basic needs soon becomes a challenge as rations for three people are split seven ways and the attic continues to provide not nearly enough privacy. Anne writes about the strained relationships of the inhabitants of the attic. The restraints of the small space have Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan constantly arguing with each other. Known as “Ms. Quack Quack” at her school, Anne’s outgoing and strong personality finds her in arguments with Peter, Mr. Van Daan, and her own mother. Mr. Kraler gives them a small radio that allows them to keep up with what is going on in the outside world, keeping their hope of the impending invasions. Mr. Dussel, a Jewish dentist, comes to hide in the attic. Hopes are greatly diminished when he brings word of Jewish families disappearing during the day and night. Though he claims to get along well with children, his presence brings out more arguments with Anne, Peter, and the Van Daan’s. On Hanukkah, Van Daan tells Peter that Moushie must go because he is consuming too much food. Peter and Anne argue with him, but are abruptly cut short when they are alerted to someone in the building. A noise made by Peter scares the burglar, who grabs a typewriter and runs. An intense scene shows the Green Police searching the building, while the families in the attic wait in fear of being found. After two years in hiding, Peter begins to notice Anne for more than the “annoying child” she once was. They begin to spend more time together talking. During a visit, Mr. Kraler indicates that an employee has become suspicious, noting that the bookshelf behind his desk was not there before. The employee requests more money to keep quiet. The tensions between the inhabitants of the attic continue to grow. Mr. Van Daan is caught stealing food and an argument ensues. During the argument, the radio announces that the invasion has reached Normandy. The news encourages everyone, causing everyone to apologize for their behaviors over the months. In July of 1944 news comes that the Green Police have found the stolen typewriter. During an emotional scene, Peter tells Anna that he can no longer...
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