Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Inside Hana's Suitcase- Documentary & Interactive Website

I first encountered Hana's story by reading the book, Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine (check out my review here). I was completely captivated by her story that I began to search for more information about her. I soon came to learn about the documentary and the online experience of the book.

Here are my thoughts on both the film and the online interactive website:

The Documentary


Initial release: November 6, 2009
Director: Larry Weinstein
Screenplay: Thomas Wallner
Cast: George Brady, Fumiko Ishioka, Kurt Kotouc, Lara Brady
Music composed by: Alexina Louie, Alex Pauk
Story by: Karen Levine, Thomas Wallner

I ordered this documentary through my local library. I was excited when it finally came in. I was completely obsessed with Hana's story. I wanted to learn more about her, about her brother George, and about Fumiko. I was not disappointed.

This was a unique documentary. It was not only told through George and Fumiko's eyes, but also by children who were inspired by Hana's story. I loved the idea of involving children in this documentary because it really showed how much of an impact Hana had on these children. What I also enjoyed about it was the reenactments. It made the documentary come to life and helped me connect more with the events and the people. 

This documentary also went more in depth in George's story. It was heartbreaking to witness his pain and guilt as he remembered his sister. I can't begin to imagine how I would feel if I were in George's shoes. I couldn't help but cry for him. However, I was happy and relieved to learn that George was able to move on from his dark past and create a new family.

One thing that I would have liked to have seen more of was information on Fumiko. It gave a brief summary of what Fumiko did as she researched for the truth on Hana. She even spoke a few times to recount her experiences. However, I felt that I got to learn more about Fumiko in the book versus the documentary.

In the end, I enjoyed this documentary. It's not the best but it is unique. It is a great companion to the book by Karen Levine.

The Interactive Website


Before watching the documentary, I visited the interactive website. All I have to say is, wow!

This website was well put together. Not only did it tell Hana's story, but it appeared like a game. Visitors get to click on different images and have to look for clues that would show bits and pieces of the documentary as well as facts. It's actually pretty addicting. I could easily see how children could become fascinated with the website yet at the same time these children will get to learn a true story from the Holocaust. 

I highly recommend people visit it.

To experience Hana, George, and Fumiko's story, you can visit the interactive website here.

For more information, you can visit the family's website here or you can also visit the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center here.

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