May 17, 2004

Capturing the Friedmans (Capsule Review)

Andrew Jarecki directs and produces this Oscar-nominated documentary about a teacher and his son who were convicted of using their in-home computer instruction class as a means to molest a number of young boys in the community on hundreds of occasions.

Jarecki makes use of an extraordinary number of home movies taken by the family. Even during the investigation and prosecution of the case, David Friedman, one of the sons, continued to document family discussions, arguments and gathering. He captures a family falling apart from internal and external pressures that had remained hidden. When Arnold Freidman is caught receiving child pornography in the mail, the investigation opens family wounds and reveals a delicate balance going off-kilter.

I recommend this film highly as an examination of the dynamics of accusation, investigation and guilt. Capturing the Friedmans is sad, perplexing and fascinating. If you’re like me and didn’t know much about this case before seeing the film, you’ll find your opinion forming and changing. In that way it often seems to be telling a story rather than simply looking back.

Posted by James at May 17, 2004 2:16 PM
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