Capturing the Friedmans
Arnold, is a teacher, adored and honoured by the community; the walls of his study are lined with certificates and commendations. He is round-shouldered, avuncular, with a hangdog face and a wry, slightly bemused expression, and he seems a good dad, indulgent and kind. But one Thanksgiving he is arrested and charged, along with his youngest son, Jesse, with the sexual molestation of young boys and the possession of child pornography. It’s a horrifying accusation, though one that Arnold does curiously little to deny; and his extraordinary passivity seems to confirm his guilt. Only his sons, clinging to their idealised illusion of family, are vehement in his defence.
What follows defies description. Brilliantly edited and assembled, it resembles nothing so much as a real-life, modern-day Rashomon: a tangle of conflicting, contradictory accounts. The ground constantly shifts beneath us: the police investigation seems, first insightful, then absurdly manipulative; Arnold seems alternately victim and monster.
Andrew Jarecki graduated from Princeton and CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS is his first feature film. He produced the short film SWIMMING but is better know as a musician. He founded the company MovieFone which was acquired by AOL in 1999 and lives and works in New York.