March 14: Anne Frank was a teenager when the Second World War broke out. And as Hitler’s Nazi Germany chillingly went about targeting Jews with death, her life changed beyond recognition. She lived in hiding for a while but was caught out and put in a concentration camp, where she died.
When in hiding, the young girl had kept a diary in which she had recorded her thoughts and impressions of what was happening to her and around her. After the war her writings were published under the title, Diary of a Young Girl. It was a phenomenal success.
One of the most known symbols of Nazi brutality, her life is now being made into a mini-series for ABC television, in America. The series has a specific aim: to portray Anne Frank as the young teenager that she was, and not as a martyr.
The $12 million production will be called Anne Frank. The film will not just show the 26 months that the Frank family was in hiding, from July 9, 1942 to August 4, 1944. It will start the story four years before that and also include the time Anne was imprisoned in the concentration camps.
Starring as Anne is a 13-year-old English girl with an uncanny resemblance to her. This girl, Hannah Taylor Gordon, is also a terrific actress, says a report in The Telegraph. Hannah is very spontaneous in her acting and also has the ability to slip in and out of her role effortlessly.
One moment she could be enacting an emotional scene from the movie, and the next moment she could be sipping a drink during a break in the shooting. The production team fondly calls her “One-take-Hannah” because her acting is so good.
This is not the first time that Hannah has appeared in a film. Her other films were The House of the Spirits, Four Weddings and A Funeral and Mansfield Park.
The film has an international cast, with Ben Kingsley, who enacted memorably, the role of Gandhi in Richard Attenborough’s film by the same name, acting as Anne’s father, Otto. Under the direction of Robert Dornhelm, filming started in December 2000. The four-hour long movie is expected to be broadcast on May 20 and 21, 2001.
The movie is being filmed mostly in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. However, the rest of it is being shot on sets that have been designed with extra care to recreate the atmosphere of the period in which Anne lived.
The Frank family’s hideaway is being created in an abandoned factory. Even the facades of Amsterdam’s canal houses located alongside the Vltava river are being reconstructed, and workers are busy making the huts and watchtowers of the concentration camp.