Oct-Dec 2010 Screenings
Capturing The Friedmans
2003 - Andrew Jarecki - 107 - U.S.A.
Fri 29 Oct 2004 at 8.30pm
Astor Cinema, Scariff
Midnight Court Rating: 4.0 (1 votes)
Storyline: Capturing the Friedmans, an extraordinary new documentary directed by Andrew Jarecki, is both a meditation on perversion and truth and one of the most heartbreaking films ever made about an American family. In 1987, in Long Island, Arnold Friedman, a retired schoolteacher in his fifties who taught computer classes for kids in his home basement, and his youngest son, Jesse, then eighteen, were arrested and charged with committing repeated acts of sexual abuse on boys who attended the classes. Jarecki’s movie owes its existence, it turns out, to the Friedmans’ habit of memorialising themselves in films, tapes, and photographs. What’s astonishing about the videos is that they turn from comedy to tragedy and then back again. I’m not sure how Jarecki is going to top Capturing the Friedmans. To begin your career with a masterpiece is so remarkable a feat that one can only hope Jarecki finds another subject as rich as this family, which was obsessed with itself but needed a filmmaker to begin to see itself at all. An engrossing, troubling and, in the end, profoundly ambiguous re-examination of a child molestation case that tore one upper-middle class family apart on New York's Long Island during the late 1980s, this will surely linger longer in the audience memory than the most dramatic films.
The lurid life-story of the Friedman family would provide enough sensationalist fodder to feed any tabloid TV show for weeks, especially since this clearly oddball clan saw fit to document so much of their own private lives using home movie cameras, But such dynamite material is merely the starting point for novice film-maker Andrew Jarecki. By painstakingly piecing together the human story that lay behind all the accusations of child pornography and sexual abuse of minors levelled against the Friedmans, and withholding judgement throughout, Jarecki succeeds in subverting our very notions of what it means to tell the truth.
“A masterpiece! Extraordinary, stunning, remarkable.” - The New Yorker
“One of the most astonishing debut features ever.” - The New York Times
“One of the best and most thought provoking films of hte year.” - Daily Mail
“Extraordinary.” - Sunday Express
Winner - Grand Jury Prize / Sundance 2003
Winner - Critics’ Prize / Sao Paulo Film Festival
Winner - Best Documentary / New York Film Critics 2003
Winner - Best Documentary / Boston Society of Film Critics 2003
Winner - Best New Filmmaker / Boston Society of Film Critics 2003
Winner - Best Documentary / San Francisco Film Critics Circle 2003
Verdicts from the Midnight Court