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Capturing The Friedmans [2004] [DVD]

Arnold Friedman , Jesse Friedman , Andrew Jarecki    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
Price: 6.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. 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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000284A5G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,870 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



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

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.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping look at a dysfunctional family. 24 April 2010
By Ernie TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly intelligent and well made documentary 3 Feb 2005
I only rented the main feature through the Amazon rental scheme, so cannot comment on the extra features on Disc 2. Having said this, I wish that I had rented both discs as watching the film left me absolutely intrigued by the case and wanting to know more.
For the movie itself - it is an incredibly involving and at times shocking insight into how a seemingly ordinary family is torn apart by allegations of child abuse brought against the father and youngest son in the Friedman family. While the allegations themselves seem highly implausible, your certainty about this is always being undercut by potentially relevant evidence the other way. For example, the revelation that Arnold Friedman admitted to 2 incidents of instances where "he took liberties" with young boys when on summer vacation at his beach house, also the suggestion that he had a coercive relationship with his younger brother aged 8 when he was 11. While the brother himself denies this flatly, I am not sure that anyone would be brave enough to be filmed on a documentary - with his partner sat next to him all the while, although this is only suggested late in the movie when the camera fades out to a wider view as opposed to a talking head - admitting to this.
What was most fascinating was the footage filmed by one of the brothers in the time after Arnold had been arrested. The family pretty much divides along gender lines, with the boys vehemently denying that the allegations could be true with the mother saying that "she does not know." There is the whole issue of whether there was almost an unspoken compact between the father and the sons he had potentially abused versus the mother on the outside of this relationship.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slanted doco that left a lot of the story untold 29 July 2012
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fried Friedmans
The DVD arrived ahead of time and in excellent condition. Haven't watched all of it, but looking forward to have a DVD feast when I have time.
Published 12 months ago by D. McFarlane
4.0 out of 5 stars Intresting for what it is, and my generation.
For what kind of movie it is, it's very interesting. And seeing my generation (people aged between 17-20) I found it very interesting.
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by Peter
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling documentary
Having being drawn to recent documentary features such as Spellbound, I took a chance on Andrew Jarecki's 'Capturing the Friedmans', having heard and read little about it. Read more
Published on 24 Jan 2011 by S. Herbertson
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but not gripping.
We would not consider this to be a film to watch for entertainment purposes. It is purely a documentary gving interviews with the family of a man who is accused of child abuse... Read more
Published on 29 Dec 2010 by Mrs. M. R. Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the truth
To say this movie is 'thought-provoking' is perhaps putting it a bit lightly. "Capturing The Friedmans" should go down as one of the bravest and most honest films about the crime... Read more
Published on 1 Nov 2008 by Mr. M. Bloomfield
5.0 out of 5 stars this is something else!
capturing the friedmans is a stunning documentary,without fear of exaggeration,that is exactly what it is. Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2007 by sean paul mccann
5.0 out of 5 stars younger perspective
as a younger person i felt watching this for my current media studies a level work that this film is gripping and gives the audience the opportunity to make up their own mind. Read more
Published on 5 July 2007 by K. L. Saville
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird family, biased film
I saw this film without knowing the story of the Friedmans. During the film I went from believing they were innocent to thinking they were guilty and back and forward and so on. Read more
Published on 30 May 2007 by Maris Crane
3.0 out of 5 stars Strangely unpleasant
This strange documentary about a family torn apart by allegations of child abuse is a mixture of interviews and bizarrely honest home movies which gives the viewer an unsettling,... Read more
Published on 23 Feb 2006 by Neb
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange family!
This is a documentary, looking back at the Friedman mass child abuse case in the USA. I think the documentary is their to shed concerns over the conviction of father and son,... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2005 by Ken Harrington
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