#Anne Frank: Parallel Stories Parent Guide
The first person accounts from Holocaust survivors make this a valuable resource for teachers.
Parent Movie Review
Anne Frank, known primarily through her diaries, has become perhaps the most well-known victim of the Holocaust. In this documentary, Helen Mirren explores the life of Anne Frank, but also examines the lives of other women who survived the horrors of the Nazi regime. The film looks at women of similar age, but with wildly different stories and experiences in the camps and it examines their lives afterwards. Meanwhile, an unnamed young woman (Martina Gatti) physically retraces Anne Frank’s life, trying to understand a person who has been gone for 75 year.
That second portion of the movie - the obviously staged travel - is almost completely superfluous. The young woman seems to function only as a visual focal point in the places to which she travels and although I’m not criticizing Gatti or her performance, I would have enjoyed the movie more without her. I think the film is trying to portray a personal effort to understand one person’s experience, instead of the usual historical exercise in comprehending the past as a whole. But it doesn’t always succeed, and Gatti’s character’s obviously fake social media posts with irrelevant hashtags seem unnecessary to the broader and much more interesting real stories.
The rest of the film is much better. The interviews with the survivors are the most valuable part of the film, providing a direct connection to one of the darkest parts of our history which we must not forget and about which we must educate ourselves. History loses irreplaceable assets as those who lived its events are lost, making these recordings invaluable to children in the future who have never had the opportunity to meet Holocaust survivors.
This documentary is especially valuable as an educational resource. It does not dwell on disturbing footage and has almost n profanity and scarcely any other content issues. The movie isn’t appropriate for young children due to some violent imagery and the mature subject matter, but if this had come out when I was in school, this is exactly what we would have watched in my ninth grade Social Studies class. It provides important information, modern perspectives, and broader context, all tied into a school-appropriate text. Teachers and parents could not ask for a better resource for introducing the history of the Holocaust to tweens and teens.Directed by Sabina Fedeli & Anna Migotto. Starring Helen Mirren, Anne Frank, and Martina Gatti. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release July 1, 2020. Updated July 3, 2020
Watch the trailer for #Anne Frank: Parallel Stories
#Anne Frank: Parallel Stories
Rating & Content Info
Why is #Anne Frank: Parallel Stories rated PG? #Anne Frank: Parallel Stories is rated PG by the MPAA
Violence: There is original footage from the Holocaust shown, which includes dead bodies and people being severely beaten.
Sexual Content: There is a brief image of a naked child during a medical examination.
Profanity: There is one use of scatological profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An individual is briefly shown ordering a drink in a bar.
Page last updated July 3, 2020
#Anne Frank: Parallel Stories Parents' Guide
Nazi Germany was not the first nation to develop concentration camps. Who was the first to contain people on a vague ethnic basis? Has your country done this in the past? Is it doing so today? What measures have been taken to address that part of your history?
Smithsonianmag: Concentration Camps Existed Long Before Auschwitz
The Guardian: Why concentration camps are still with us
The film mentions that Otto Frank was unsuccessful in obtaining a visa for his family to flee the Netherlands. Many countries were unwilling to accept Jewish refugees from Europe. Why is that? Look at the case of the MS St. Louis. What happened with those refugees? How many nations refused them entry? What kind of amends have those nations made to the Jewish community?
Wikipedia: MS St Louis
People frequently say that they would never have tolerated the Holocaust, but seldom offer concrete ways they would have resisted. China, for example, is currently mass-detaining Uighur Muslims in “re-education camps” and has been since 2017. According to the UN, by August of 2018 over one million members of that ethnic group have been forcibly detained by the Chinese government. There are also reports of torture and forced labor. What has the global response been to these acts? What has your response been? What groups are working to help the Uighurs?
BBC: China Uighurs: One million held in political camps
The New York Times: Inside China’s Push to Turn Muslim Minorities Into an Army of Workers
Amnesty International: Tell China to stop targeting Uyghurs
The end of World War II did not signal the end of fascism, or even of Nazism. Antisemitism is on the rise again – both politically and socially. Antisemitic hate crimes in New York City went up 26% in 2019. Neo-Nazi groups and ideologies are also seeing a rise in popularity. Here is a list of American Neo-Nazi groups, published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. What can you do to stamp out fascism in your community? What are some warning signs from politicians or parties that they may embrace neo-fascist ideals? What can you do to make sure that “never again” means “never again”?
Southern Poverty Law Center: Neo-Nazi
Encyclopedia: Common Characteristics of Fascist Movements
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Obviously, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl serves as the starting point for this film and is a good place to start reading. For those looking for other first-hand accounts of the concentration camps, Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz and The Drowned and the Saved provide both his personal experience and some essential philosophical structure for analyzing that experience.
The Holocaust was not the last genocide of the 20th century – far from it. L.General and retired senator Romeo Dallaire found himself commanding a hamstrung UN force as genocide swept Rwanda, and his story can be found in his book Shake Hands with the Devil. A more fictionalized account of modern genocide is Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo, which focuses on the genocide in the Balkans during the Siege of Sarajevo.
The Freedom Writers Diary, compiled by Erin Gruwell, tells the individual stories of at-risk students in Long Beach, California, who learn to understand discrimination and prejudice through the lens of Anne Frank’s diary. It serves as the inspiration for the film Freedom Writers, starring Hillary Swank.
Related home video titles:
There are several famous films about the holocaust – Schindler’s List, The Pianist, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas stand out. The Book Thief is a slightly more age-appropriate story, about a young girl and a Jewish refugee who lives in her home. Conspiracy, starring Kenneth Branagh as Reinhard Heydrich, examines the Wannsee Conference, at which the “final solution to the Jewish Question” was determined. Based on surviving transcripts from the conference, Conspiracy is an illuminating (if horrifically depressing) portrayal of verifiable history. Denial, starring Rachael Weisz, tells the unbelievable true story of Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, who finds herself in court trying to prove the existence of the holocaust to the odious David Irving (Timothy Spall) who denies it ever happened. Labyrinth of Lies is also based on real events and sees a national awakening to the horrors of the holocaust when a young prosecutor finds a former camp guard working in a school. Thankfully, not everyone was willing to cooperate with the Nazi regime. A Hidden Lifetells the story of an Austrian man who objected to the war. Hotel Rwanda tells the story of the Rwandan genocide from the perspective of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (played by Don Cheadle) who tries to harbor refugees at the Hotel des Mille Collines.