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In 1940, Amsterdam is occupied by the Nazis. Persecuted for their Jewish faith, the Frank family is forced into hiding in a secret annex concealed in a canal-side house. The young daughter Anne begins to write down her thoughts in a diary, escaping from her situation by writing fantastic stories. Eventually, the family is discovered by the Nazis and taken away to a concentration camp.
This earnest but pretentious TV movie about the famous diarist uses four of Anne's stories (published as Tales from the Secret Annex) as interludes to break the monotony of her confinement: Fear, The Wise Dwarf, Henrietta, and The Adventure of Bralee the Bear Cub. Such a decision may have made cinematic sense, but it somehow trivializes Anne's plight. After the broadcast of this film, a child's viewpoint becomes a regular feature in anime about WWII, since it permits the use of Japanese characters who, like the baby-boom audience itself, had no part in the war that so dramatically altered the course of their country's history.
A second anime version was released in Japanese theaters in 1995, directed by Akinori Nagaoka. This production, from KSS and the Madhouse studio, was much more lavish than the original TV movie, featuring more realistic character designs from Yoshinori Kanemori and music by Michael Nyman, composer for The Piano. This film, minus its Nyman score, was released in French as Le Journal d'Anne Frank on DVD with English subtitles.