DVD: The Diary of Anne Frank (12)

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The Independent Culture

The holocaust has long been a byword in film and television for the kind of over-emotional representation that is so easily spun out of a profoundly dark period of human history, and the staggering weight that constant historical and dramatical reinterpretation have brought to bear has been particularly pressing on the retelling of the story of Anne Frank.

Nonetheless, Deborah Moggach's terse script for this five-part BBC adaptation of the much revisited tale performs perfectly the thankless task of weaving suspense into a story where ultimately we are all aware of the ending, while resisting the urge to romanticise the story or leave it open to any charge of melodrama. Ellie Kendrick's portrayal of a contrary, sarcastic Anne, with a burgeoning and uncomfortable sexuality furnishes the naturalistic setting with conflict and claustrophobia, in appropriate balance to the almost palpable discomfort of the recreated Amsterdam flat in which the series was filmed.

This and the excellent dialogue and cinematography are a measure of the capability of Moggach and director Jon Jones's reimagining to breathe new life into a story now weary from retelling.