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Capturing the Friedmans

Year: 2003
Director: Andrew Jarecki
At first you're outraged, then you hear the accused (and subsequently jailed) Friedman brother Jesse ask a simple questions; if he and his father systematically raped every young boy in their computer class, why did none of the children leave the class in states of injury or distress? Parents and then the police would have (presumably) been alerted to what was going on there long before they did if those accusations had been true.

We meet and revisit the well to do upper middle class Friedmans through early cinefilms of family activities, a practice at least some of them kept up even though their father and brother were accused of horrific child abuse at their home in a swanky area of New York state.

The third brother, Seth, didn't want anything to do with the film. It amazing any of them did. Eldest brother David and mother Elaine talk at great lengths about the ordeal, and the interviews are interspersed with footage of the Friedman family both light hearted and chilling. We see them blowing birthday candles out, swimming in backyards pools, an entry from a video journal David Friedman kept that shows him breaking down and saying 'fuck you' to the police, and the family sitting around the kitchen table discussing whether they should accept a plea bargain.

Masterfully structured so that even if you know what it's about before you see it (which isn't hard as it got so many people talking), it still makes you asks questions, including your own instinct to judge before you've heard everything. Interviews with the prosecutors and attorneys involved completes a very bizarre and disturbing picture.

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