Holocaust Education Centre in Tokyo, receives a package mailed to her from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Inside is a suitcase that, we learn, belonged to a young girl who died in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, about whom Ms. Ishioka wants to learn more. Her students are primed for this project, as well. In fact, they and other youngsters around the world join Ishioka in telling us Hana's story.
Sarah's Key, a French Holocaust tale in which an older sister comes to terms with the death of her brother, the film is quite a grab-bag of styles and content: historical footage, both documentary-style and heavy-duty narrative re-enactments, talking heads (often children) and more. This works surprisingly well in most instances, while adhering to what I surmise is the movie's main -- and important -- purpose: to keep the Holocaust a part of history in the minds of today's children, and thus in those of generations to come.
There are times when the film's use of its many devices is spectac-ularly good. One scene involves Ms Ishioka, history, narration, animation, present-day photography and live action -- all rolled into a few amazing minutes. Brother George (shown today, above, right, with the actress who portrays Hana) speaks very movingly and intelligently of living life as a survivor and what this means.