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"In the world, people read Anne Frank's diary not in the context of the Holocaust, but as a story of adolescence" • So says Lena Goberman, the artistic designer of the graphic novel and film "Where is Anne Frank" √ she describes the transition from the big screen to paper • From the Establishments of the Anne Frank Myth √ "The graphic novel does not replace watching a movie, but is another way to reach children"

The protagonist of "Where's Anne Frank" - the film directed by Ari Pullman and the book of the same name, which was published with him - is not Anne Frank.

In both the protagonist is Kitty, the imaginary character that Anne Frank referred the diary to, and his notes were actually conversations with her.

The split between Anne and Kitty is significant: when Kitty comes to life in contemporary Amsterdam she finds throughout the city a variety of monuments named after Anne Frank: the hideout that became the museum named after her, the Anne Frank Library, the Anne Frank Hospital, the Anne Frank Theater and even the Anne Frank Station Cafe Anne Frank.

Anne Frank has long since become an institution.

Kitty, who maintains allegiance to the vital and imaginative girl who wrote her, goes against this establishment, steals the diary from the museum and sets up all the Amsterdam police on it in an attempt to crack the institutional envelope that "Anne Frank" is trapped in, and bring back to life some of who she was and her world of values.

"While working on the project, I realized that Anne Frank was constantly in the headlines," says Lena Goberman, the artistic designer of the film and book.

"Occasionally there are claims that they know who betrayed her, or that there is a storm around a cafe named after her - we keep coming back to this symbol. But at the same time, she has become a myth that has been detached from her story as a persecuted Jew until she died in the Holocaust. She is not linked to the Holocaust, and her diary is read as a story of adolescence. "Of the extermination of the Jews. But it could be an advantage, because it allows many people in the world to connect with its character."

Anna's alter ego

The globalization and obscurity of the myth of Anne Frank allowed the filmmakers to turn the story of the Jewish girl - who had been hiding with her family and other Jews in a hiding place in Amsterdam since 1942, until they were discovered following the tip and sent to Auschwitz on the last train. Contemporary in the West for refugees and minorities in general.

"For children it is difficult with the story of Anne Frank, and we did not want to scare anyone. If when teaching about the Holocaust in educational institutions emphasize suffering, and stay in the past, we asked what can be taken away. It was very important for us to connect it to the present," says Goberman.

From the graphic novel,

Do you think there is a parallel between Europe's treatment of Jews and refugees?

"I would not talk about acceptance. You can not compare it to each other. But the film was commissioned by the Anne Frank Foundation, founded by her father, Otto Frank, who was the only survivor of the whole family, and the legacy he tried to instill is based on values ​​of humanity regardless of religion, race And sex. That was his 'cardo'. It should also be remembered that Anne Frank was actually a refugee. She was born in Germany, and with the rise of the Nazis the family was forced to flee to Amsterdam.

At that time many of the Jews who fled Germany were returned to it, to war zone.

This is a reality similar to the reality we see today, and in the film we try to bring back the discourse guided by humanity and compassion.

But of course there is no intention to harm the memory of the Holocaust. "

And Kitty is in your eyes an ambassador who connects the past with the present?

"It's very hard for kids to connect with characters from the past. When Kitty wakes up, she only knows what happened until the last page of the diary. She does not know that Anne Frank is dead. And she continues on her way as she knew her. That's how she creates change, "And we also ask this question, which is a rhetorical question, if we have learned anything from this story."

So Kitty is today's Frank Frank?

"They are different. One of the most touching passages in the diary comes towards the end, when Anne Frank writes that she is perceived by others differently from the way she understands herself, because she fails to reveal her inner world. I think that's where Kitty was born, which is actually the world "This inner that Anna does not dare to reveal. Anna is portrayed in the diary as a bold and opinionated girl who writes what she thinks, but it is not clear if she also expressed orally all the things she thinks or she keeps them in a diary. Kitty, unlike her, says it all."

From the graphic novel,

These differences were also reflected in the design of the cartoon characters.

"There were a lot of conversations between us about what Anna and Kitty should look like," Goberman says.

"Because Kitty is Anna's alter ego, it's based on Anna's cartoon character. The position of the nose and mouth is the same position, one by one. If you put Anna's face on Kitty's face you see that they overlap. Their height is also the same height. "But Anna was not a pretty girl, even though she had something captivating about her. Her eyes are terribly sad on the one hand, and smiling on the other."

And Kitty is painted like a beauty with a red mane in the style of Jessica Rabbit ...

"She had to be very pretty, because Anna writes in the diary that Kitty is beautiful. She did not consider herself beautiful, and Kitty was the figure of her dreams, that she rode from the facial features of her girlfriends. Anna does not write that Kitty has red hair, but because the first diary is Anna Got for her birthday was with red squares, I thought she should be redhead.This fiddling with the mirror appears at the beginning of the diary, when she was still a child and it matters to her what is thought of her, then her writing changes. "Like the closure we experienced in Corona, it helped her explore herself."

Is this what happened to us in Corona?

"I think we had a stop to watch. While working on the film we laughed at the fact that the corona also gave us a chance to experience closure, like Anna."

Reality in oil paints

The distance between the historical, mythical, closed story, about what happened to Anne Frank and her family, and the still open future still open (the film takes place "a year from today"), Goberman visually expressed.

"The scenes from the past, from the hiding place, are painted in the technique of oil paints laden with details, tangible. If the present is painted in watercolors, like a kind of open dream, the past is stifled by realism.

"In addition, we built the backgrounds of the hiding rooms physically. These rooms were built in a studio that worked on the animated films of Wes Anderson, 'The Famous Mr. Fox' and 'Dog Island', which were shot entirely in the Stop Motion technique (a method that allows for example moving puppets using A series of still photographs that are then connected to one sequence).

"What you get in the end is a movement effect that is made up of sections, a movement that is not completely flowing, and has something Charlie-Chaplini in it. This artificial effect suited me very well to create the feeling of closure inside the house. We built such physical backgrounds only in sections of "The enclosed spaces, especially those that took place in the hiding place: the glass is glass, the table is a table, the wallpaper is wallpaper, and if there is lighting in the room, it is physically illuminated. Then we connected the painted figures to these backgrounds."

Why use physical rooms to describe the past?

"When I visited the Anne Frank Museum, I had a feeling like the whole hideout was made of paper. Not only were the walls covered in wallpaper, but acoustically they actually heard the outside - the sirens of cars and the sounds of people on the street. I felt like the walls were paper thick. I. "I can only imagine the confusion of those who hid there, who felt the outside strongly without being able to get out."

One can also imagine how much they had to keep quiet so as not to be heard from the outside.

"Yes. That's why it was important to me to convey in the film the materiality of the paper. That's how I tried to convey the idea that this past really existed, that it is very realistic, and yet it is fixed and we can not change it. On the other hand, the present-future, which has not yet been written, and we can still change it, is drawn in ink-like lines, such as those in which the diary is written. "It's created a visual clutter in the film, and I was afraid it would be excessive."

Book cover,

"An investment that will not return"

Like Pullman, whose mother arrived in Auschwitz exactly the same week that Anne Frank arrived there, but survived - Goberman's family also barely survived the war.

"My grandmother was born in Ukraine, and with the onset of the invasion the Russians evacuated her to the south and that's how she survived. But her family perished, and when she came back she found she had nowhere to go back to."

Goberman was born and raised in the city of Brest, which is now part of Belarus, until her family immigrated to Israel as teenagers.

"I grew up in the communist era, when there was Holocaust denial. The Nazis were not called 'Nazis' but fascists, and the education system presented the war as an attack on the USSR on an anti-communist basis.

There is no talk at all of Jews being persecuted. "

Inside the family talked to you about it?

"They spoke carefully, they did not want me to blow things out of the house. We did not celebrate holidays, nor did we know how, but my grandmother told me about the holidays. She also taught me a little Yiddish. In class I always felt a little foreign, and there were some unpleasant cases. Below the surface, but sometimes it erupted, and it was very hurtful. "

She was born to a construction supervisor father and an accountant mother, who both loved to paint and sent their daughter to a painting class from the age of five.

"My mother says she drew a lot when she was pregnant with me, and from there it rolled. She probably recognized that I love to paint, and promoted it. I express myself much better in painting. To this day I look to balance work in front of a computer in manual painting, and recently also In sculpture. Each time I look for a different challenge. "

From the graphic novel,

"Where's Anne Frank" is Goberman's first attempt as an artistic designer of a film of this scale.

Prior to that, she was responsible for designing the characters in Pullman and David Polonsky's previous film, The Futurists' Conference, and behind it a series of illustrations for books, including "I Love" by Jonathan Geffen, "Gali's Soap Bubbles" by Avirma Golan, "On Jeremiah Street" by Libby Down and "Aunt Margalit fell into the puddle" by Nurit Zarchi.

"The graphic book 'Where's Anne Frank' does not replace watching a movie, but it's another way to get kids. We had a team that translated the frames from the movie into illustrations, because it was not always possible to take the frames from the movie as they are to the book, sometimes it had to change. It's very big between a story in motion and a comic. "

So much effort has been invested in the film in the artistic design, and many millions - and in the end people see it on a small screen on TV.

It's frustrating?

"Very. The experience of watching a movie is also completely different - it's a more personal experience, without distractions. It's an investment that will not come back, not only in the financial sense. Ari invested in the film for nine years. I was involved in it for three years. "The goal was to expose the story to as many children as possible, but we are at a time when no matter how many good reviews are published, people are less likely to see movies in theaters, and not just because of the Corona. The film can be released at any time. People prefer to watch movies at home." 

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Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2022-05-27

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