"Capturing the Friedmans" DVD documentary [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-09-2004, 01:36 AM
I have not seen this discussed here; I believe it was just recently released on DVD. It was a Sundance entry a year ago & I guess it saw a limited release in indie-type houses. This is a duplicate of a post I put up on the Audio Asylum films board...sorry, it just loads quicker so I did it there first. I never put up identical posts on both forums. I am making an exception. I highly recommend this, to the point where I'm shoving it down everyone's throat. Rent it. See it.

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This documentary hit me harder than anything I've seen in years, and I recommend that you run to rent it. Leave some extra time on yr hands because once you see the movie, the material on the 2nd disc will seem just as interesting, just as compelling, just as captivating, just as much of a must-see. And there's a couple of hours' worth of the stuff. I was sick & tired of DVD extras where the cast, crew, producer, director, whoever, gush about how brilliant this or that scene or actor is, how marvelously this set was designed, what geniuses they all are, from the 2nd time I was exposed to that. This is something completely different.

If you haven't heard this story yet, the Friedmans were a suburban Long Island family who seemed very normal, until father Arnold & youngest of three sons Jesse were arrested & charged with multiple counts of child molestation. Both confessed in plea 'deals' & later recanted; there are unanswered questions about the case to this day. I won't go any further into details because it's something you have to see for yourself. What adds an indescribably unique aspect to this is the presence of home movies shot by the family during the period after the releases of the father & son on bail & prior to the pleas being entered.

Andrew Jarecki's the guy who invented MovieFone. He set out a few years ago to make a short documentary about the people he saw entertaining, as clowns & such, at the birthday parties his children attended. One of these clowns eventually revealed that he was a member of this family that had been torn apart by this scandal some 15 years before. The short about the clowns became a very different project. Can't say enough about it; except I won't say what I think about whether or not an injustice was done. There are complications & such that make rendering a conclusion difficult, & I don't want to say anything that might detract from someone's watching this. But I & some others that I know have been mighty engrossed in this for a few days now. If it matters, without thinking about the subject, I do think that, as a documentary, the pacing & editing are excellent & overall it's extremely well done. But even if it was a choppy piece of crap like 'Kurt & Courtney' it'd still be well worth seeing. So see it.

02-24-2004, 09:25 AM
Just watched it last night. I haven't had a chance to see the extras yet, but the movie was very interesting. I actually watched it with someone who worked for over 10 years as a child abuse inverstigator, so we had some interesting discussions about it. We were pretty close in what we thought in the end, which I guess I shouldn't discuss in detail, or it would perhaps ruin the movie for others.

What I found most intriguing is the way it really shows that when watching news reports on TV or reading the papers, crimes always look much more cut and dry than they really are. This is a rare chance to see the chaos and confusion that often surrounds criminal investigations and trials in reality.