It’s a new frontier in visual arts. With the recent release of a number of virtual reality videos on YouTube, being immersed in the action of whatever movie you are watching is definitely a reality these days. But, what if the content of the action is something as devastating and traumatic as the Holocaust? For one film, that just became a reality. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anne, a new virtual reality film about Anne Frank's story will take audiences inside the world where she lived and died during WWII. But, as cutting edge as this technology may be, this film will undoubtedly be emotional and could raise some serious questions about the ethics of future virtual reality projects.
It’s the sensitive nature of Anne Frank’s life that will most likely have critics raising their eyebrows over using technology like this for a film about her life. As a child caught in the middle of WWII Amsterdam, Frank’s life was limited to the attic where she and her family stayed. There they hid from Nazi soldiers until they were caught and killed. THR reports that the film version of Anne Frank’s story promises to go directly inside that attic where she lived in 1942.
But, more than the sensitive nature of Anne’s story, I can imagine that some critics will also be concerned with the intensity of such a viewing experience. Could a project that puts viewers right in the middle of that time in world history potentially traumatize viewers?
It’s certainly possible. But, more than any of the qualms that critics may have about the movie, I think this film has the potential to be incredibly powerful. The nature of virtual reality makes it incredibly immersive and emotional. So, what could possibly be more powerful than immersing them in one of the most intense times in history? Plus, Anne Frank's story has been told more times than many of us could count. The only difference with this film is that form of how it is presented is changed. And, if you ask me, that is more a sign of the times than a sign of insensitivity.
"Anne Frank's story has kept the memory of the Holocaust alive and promoted tolerance for generations," writer-director Danny Abrahms told THR. "We are deeply committed to sharing Anne's experience using cutting-edge modes of storytelling so that her story can live on and reach as many young people in the world as possible."
Honestly, I think it’s only a matter of time before virtual reality takes over the big screen. And, choosing captivating stories like Frank's will showcase the form’s power in a smart way to get audiences clamoring for more.