Capturing the Friedmans


Time Out says

On Thanksgiving weekend 1987, police in Great Neck, Long Island, pursuing a US Post Office sting, broke down the Friedmans' front door and turned over their house in front of the gathered family, eventually hauling away a prodigious collection of child porn. Dweebish father-of-three Arnold and his youngest son Jesse were arraigned for child abuse on a similarly stupendous scale. Originally denying the charges, first Arnold and then Jesse confessed and went down. Arnold never re-emerged. That's one side of the story laid out by this disturbing and compelling documentary. Another, turning on the Friedmans' own doubts, disunity and recriminations, was remarkably captured on film and video obsessively recorded by the family itself, and subsequently discovered by Jarecki when interviewing David Friedman, one of Arnold's sons, in his alter ego as Silly Billy, New York's favourite birthday clown. And another story again percolates through the interviews and expert opinion that Jarecki subsequently gathered. It emerges through the film's slow drip of revelations, but the point is more abstract and epistemological. There is no way of knowing the full truth of this case.


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