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Capturing The Friedmans [2004] [DVD]


Price: £13.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman, Elaine Friedman, Seth Friedman
  • Directors: Andrew Jarecki
  • Producers: Andrew Jarecki, Jaye Nydick, Jennifer Rogen, Marc Smerling, Peter Bove
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 26 July 2004
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000284A5G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,570 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

The Friedmans are a respectable, middle-class Long Island family, seemingly addicted to recording their daily lives – first on super-8, then on video. But their world crumbles when the father, a popular teacher, is accused, along with the youngest of his three sons, of molesting schoolchildren. Unbelievably, the arrest, trial and its horrifying aftermath are all chronicled in the family’s own home movies, revealing a tangle of contradictions and their comfortable world slowly disintegrates around them. The resulting story will haunt you long after the end-credits roll.

Nominated for the best documentary Oscar, the intriguing story of the Friedmans continues to develop and compelling new evidence, witnesses and uncut footage of the prosecution’s star witness are all presented on this two-disc edition. It’s time to find out who you believe now.

From Amazon.co.uk

A Sundance Grand Jury prize-winner and a true conversation starter, Capturing the Friedmans travels into one apparently ordinary Long Island family's heart of darkness. Arnold and Elaine Friedman had a normal life with their three sons until Arnold was arrested on multiple (and increasingly lurid) charges of child abuse. Because the Friedmans had documented their own lives with copious home movies, filmmaker Andrew Jarecki is able to sift through their material looking for clues. Yet what emerges is more surreal than fiction: the youngest Friedman son went to jail; the eldest became a birthday-party clown. In the end, we can't be sure whether Arnold Friedman is a monstrous child molester or the victim of railroading. The portrait of a disconnected family is deeply disturbing, either way, and this film is further proof that a documentary can be just as spellbinding as anything a great storyteller dreams up. --Robert Horton

On the DVD:Like the film itself, the bonus disc that accompanies Capturing the Friedmans asks a lot of questions, offers a few pertinent answers, and leaves a legacy of mystery in a case that many never be fully solved. What really happened in the basement of the Friedman home in Great Neck, New York? Is Jesse as guilty as his father in the notorious case of child molestation? Additional excerpts of the Friedmans' home movies only deepen the uncertainty we feel after viewing the film, and video footage from two early premiere screenings demonstrates that emotions will continue to run high as long as lingering doubts remain. The "altercation" at the New York premiere is actually rather benign, but only because filmmaker Andrew Jarecki kept the crowd under control before arguments could boil over; at the Great Neck premiere, the case's judge gets a chance to comment on facts that the film omitted while praising its overall veracity. Uncut footage of the prosecution's star witness makes it clear that the case was on shaky ground; even more than in the film proper, this witness (whose face is hidden in shadow) comes off as marginally credible at best, and at worst a vindictive liar, further suggesting serious weaknesses in the prosecution's case.

On a lighter note, "Just a Clown"--the film Jarecki was making when he discovered the true scope of the Friedman story--is a delightful portrait of New York party clowns and their reigning king, David Friedman, whose business thrives as he caters to wealthy Manhattanites. It's clear proof that Jarecki's a gifted documentarian. A featurette about Andrea Morricone (son of the great film composer Ennio Morricone) highlights his creation of the film's evocative score. Returning to the Friedman case, an interactive dossier of Friedman-related media delves deeper into the lives and personalities of this dysfunctional American family, and "Jesse's Life Today" examines the ex-convict's relatively upbeat recovery from 13 years in prison for a crime he allegedly didn't commit. For armchair detectives, an extensive menu of pertinent documents are provided as DVD-ROM content, the most fascinating being Arthur Friedman's confessional "My Story," a psychologist's assessment of alleged vic! tims, and a curiously revealing "Friedman family contract." Taken together, these and other documents add even more complexity to the film's compelling, Rashomon-like study of truth. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ernie on 24 April 2010
Format: DVD
Originally planned as a documentary about David Friedman, New York's number one children's party clown, the focus of this film changed as soon as it was revealed that both David's father Arnold, a well respected teacher, was the subject of a police sting operation involving Arnold ordering pornographic child magazines from Holland.
As the documentary continues and the police investigation unfolds it's uncovered that Arnold is under suspicion, and subsequently charged with multiple counts of sexually abusing young students at his after school computer classes, and while interviewed students testify that David's younger brother Jesse had also abused them. As the pair face numerous charges of child molestation the documentary tells the story of the Friedman family through home movies, interviews and fly on the wall footage and captures the storm surrounding what was a well respected middle class family.
Aside from the engrossing and disturbing subject matter what makes `Capturing The Friedmans' so interesting is the Friedman family themselves, a heavily male dominated family in which father and sons seem to constantly try and outdo each other with self deprecating humour and eccentricities which often result in the mother of the family being pushed outside of the male dominated circle. And as the evidence mounts against Arnold and Jesse, and the trial approaching the male members' of family never seem to get a grip of the gravity of the situation, instead trying to push on with a normal day to day life. By the end of the film you'll either be condemning two deceitful and calculating paedophiles or a extraordinary miscarriage of justice, but the story of the Friedman's is one which will leave you with more questions than answers. If you enjoy documentaries then this isn't something you should miss.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "Belgo Geordie" on 29 July 2012
Format: DVD
It is however, still compelling viewing. Allegations of sexual abuse are the hardest to either prove or disapprove. A court of law was satisfied that some of the Freidman clan were guilty of the charges laid against them. It is an often stated opinion that law is about legal process and not justice. We assume the documentary maker had information we may not have been able to access through the public domain, such as interviews with key people involved. That is where this documentary fell over for me. I don't know whether the Friedman's were guilty of the crimes they were charged with. That they were eccentric was obvious in the video footage, interviews and there dysfunction family life opened to public gaze. But a few issues stuck in my craw. Their love of pornography and I think child pornography was amongst their seized processions. That in itself is not a victimless crime. And that one of the protagonists said what happened did happen. I think had the documentary maker stuck to their original aim, to let the story tell itself-from all sides. Then we as watchers could have reached our own conclusion. At the end of this, I felt duped by the film maker. Enough to go on line and read through the available material on the case. My conclusion differs from the doco. These (the Friedman's accused) do not appear to be innocent victims. People who are sexually abused are still all too readily not believed. False accusations although they do occur are not as common as is sometimes stated. But it has over time given me some good discussion with people on the area of sexual abuse. This story needed a brighter, sharper light to see into the corners of the Friedman's world. The documentary fuzzed things, made the eccentric porn loving dad and boys appear basically harmless and a bit obsessive. Not sure I buy that view.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sean paul mccann VINE VOICE on 24 Oct. 2007
Format: DVD
capturing the friedmans is a stunning documentary,without fear of exaggeration,that is exactly what it is.The subject matter is troublesome and certainly uncomfortable,that being child abuse but how the documentary unfolds will ultimately have you feeling one way or another but you will find a reaction in yourself,few films can state to do the same.
The film,i will call it a film for now,deals with the friedman family,an affluemnt family in long island,America,the family is well liked,respected and with father,mother and three sons,they were the picture of happiness.However their world was soon to turn upside down and then some.The father of the family,Arnold,subscribed to a child abuse magazine that was intercepted by police,they then went to his house and searched it finding a load of similar magazines,they also found that he was a computer teacher to local boys and interviewed them and found out that some of them spoke of sexual abuse by arnold and his son jessie and then began the fall down of the family.
The film is interlaced with home footage of the family growing up,the family were big on home movies and watching some of those gives insight to what happened after,there is also interviews with the family at the juncture of the films release along with lawyers,journalists and detectives,the families of the sons abused and the people abused in the computer room alledgedly.
What makes this for riveting viewing is that arnold and jessie contested their innocence throughout,the home footage of the family talking just before trial and trying to punch holes in the states case is great but nerveracking and very real,very real.
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