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CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS

USA, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Documentaries)

Director: Andrew Jarecki

"Capturing The Friedmans ran away with this year's Sundance Grand Jury prize for best documentary and deservedly so. 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.

"Left on its own, 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 judgment throughout, Jarecki succeeds in subverting our very notions of what it means to tell the truth.

"It is to Jarecki's immense credit that he and his collaborators manage to maintain an unsentimental distance, training an unblinking, empathetic eye on their subjects even as the skeletons start rattling loudly within the Friedmans' darkest closets."—Screen International

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