Capturing the Friedmans
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Capturing the Friedmans

5.0 1
Director: Andrew Jarecki

Cast: Andrew Jarecki, Arnold Friedman, Elaine Friedman, David Friedman

Andrew Jarecki's award-winning documentary Capturing the Friedmans comes to DVD with a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of the film .The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are accessible. The superb supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by


Andrew Jarecki's award-winning documentary Capturing the Friedmans comes to DVD with a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of the film .The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are accessible. The superb supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by Jarecki and editor Richard Hankin. They discuss the complicated process of putting the film together, including how the focus of the film shifted radically after learning about David Friedman's family. What really makes this film quite worthwhile are the over two-hours of addition video and audio recordings taken by the family, and footage of the heated discussion that took place after the film's initial screening at the TriBeca film festival. The extras also provide information on how the people profiled in the film are dealing with their lives today. This is a fantastic release of an intriguing documentary.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Truth is often more harrowing than fiction, but it is a desperately elusive entity; even in a case such as the one explored in this disturbing but mesmerizing documentary, for which first-time filmmaker Andrew Jarecki enjoyed remarkable access to his subjects. Even Jarecki, who persuaded the family of accused child molesters Arnold and Jesse Friedman to cooperate with him, cannot decide whether the two are guilty, and his film raises as many questions as answers. Capturing the Friedmans deals with the middle-class Long Island family torn apart in 1987 by child-molestation charges filed after a police raid uncovered kiddie porn apparently belonging to dad Arnold, a respected high school science teacher. He and his 18-year-old son, Jesse, were subsequently accused of molesting dozens of young boys, and their travails are painstakingly documented in this videotaped compilation, which even includes family footage recorded by another Friedman son, David. We see strategy sessions between Arnold and his attorneys, conflicting testimony from alleged victims, posturing by police investigators and legal teams, and even the heartrending family farewells taped the night before Arnold goes to prison. Despite this wealth of material, the truth remains elusive: We're not sure that shell-shocked son Jesse was guilty, and there's a suggestion that he was railroaded when the Friedman case made national headlines. Arnold himself never comes right out and admits to all of the molestations. With various people pursuing their own agendas, it's hard to know if justice was done fully and impartially. But that seems to be what director Jarecki intended; the Friedman case was extraordinarily complex, and watching it unfold will certainly make you think. One of the most absorbing documentaries in recent memory, Capturing the Friedmans will linger in memory for a long, long time.
All Movie Guide
Andrew Jarecki's debut feature is a devastating portrait of the collapse of an American family, not to mention a fascinating meditation on film, memory, and truth. Jarecki's project originally started out as a documentary on David Friedman, Manhattan's most popular party clown. As he dug deeper into his subject, however, Jarecki struck gold, unearthing the messy pedophilia scandal that destroyed the Friedman family. Jarecki's serendipity did not end there: In addition to being a compelling subject, the Friedmans turned out to have been inveterate home-video hounds. Comprised of old Friedman footage, news clips from the period, and recent interviews with the family, the movie proves to be a remarkable work of assemblage. Jarecki reconstructs the events that led to the imprisonment of Arnold, the Friedmans' patriarch, and Jesse, one of the three Friedman boys, on sexual abuse charges. Rummaging through the family's attic, Jarecki cobbles together an incisive document that suggests that the two were victims of a media feeding frenzy and mass hysteria in their Great Neck, NY, community. No less an act of distortion is David's father worship. Years after the scandal, the eldest of the Friedman sons still remains convinced of his father's decency -- despite Arnold's undisputed possession of child pornography and his own admission that he had committed pedophilia twice before (but never in Great Neck). A study of the American obsession with personal drama and the examined life, Capturing the Friedmans also emerges as a Rashomon-like rumination on the slippery nature of truth. The closer Jarecki looks, it seems, the less we see. While Jarecki's manipulative editing begs the question of just how much of that obscurity is the director's work, the awful drama of the Freidmans' downfall is unmistakably genuine. Jarecki's stabs at metaphysical import may be transparent at times, but it hardly mars the emotional impact of this heartbreaking film.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Hbo Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Surround]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Filmmaker audio commentary; Theatrical trailer; English, French, and Spanish subtitles; Unseen home movies from inside the Friedman house; "Great Neck Outraged" featurette; New witnesses and evidence; Uncut footage of the prosecution's star witness; Friedman family scrapbook and hidden audio tapes; The original short film that led to the discovery of David Friedman's secret story; "Jesse's Life Today" featurette; An altercation at the film's New York premiere; The Judge speaks out at the Great Neck premiere; A special ROM section with key documents from the family and the case

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Arnold Friedman Participant
Elaine Friedman Participant
David Friedman Participant
Seth Friedman Participant
Jesse Friedman Participant
Howard Friedman Participant
John McDermott Participant
Frances Galasso Participant
Anthony Sgueglia Participant
Joseph Onorato Participant
Judd Maltin Participant
Judge Abbey Boklan Participant
Ron Georgalis Participant
Scott Banks Participant
Debbie Nathan Participant
Jerry Bernstein Participant
Peter Panaro Participant
Lloyd Doppman Participant
Jack Fallin Participant

Technical Credits
Andrew Jarecki Director,Producer
Nathan Crooker Sound/Sound Designer
Adolfo Doring Cinematographer
John Gurrin Sound/Sound Designer
Richard Hankin Editor
Andrea Morricone Score Composer
Desiree Ortiz Sound/Sound Designer
Jennifer Rogen Associate Producer
Marc Smerling Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 -- Capturing the Friedmans
1. Meet the Friedmans [10:10]
2. Behind the Piano [8:39]
3. The Computer Room [11:59]
4. Community Outrage [10:17]
5. "My Story" [10:52]
6. Our Gang [11:44]
7. Arnold's Plea [9:51]
8. Jesse's Decision [10:09]
9. The Road to Dannemora [12:48]
10. "Not the Way It Was Supposed to End" [8:44]


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Capturing the Friedmans 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Must See. I still don't know which side of the fence I'm on, and I've watched it twice. It's emotional, very real, and the whole time it's hard to believe that this is a real family.