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Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.
Near Penn Station, next to the Amtrak tracks, squatters have been living for years. Marc Singer goes underground to live with them, and films this "family." A dozen or so men and one woman talk about their lives: horrors of childhood, jail time, losing children, being coke-heads. They scavenge, they've built themselves sturdy one-room shacks; they have pets, cook, chat, argue, give each other haircuts. A bucket is their toilet. Leaky overhead pipes are a source of water for showers. They live in virtual darkness. During the filming, Amtrak gives a 30-day eviction notice. Written by
The film was shot on 16mm black and white film stock, not as a creative decision, but because according to Singer, a filmmaker friend had told him, "If you shoot color and you don't know what you're doing, you'll fuck it all up and it will come out looking all green or red." See more »
It's been told and retold the story of the making of this film, and I won't do that here, but let me just mention that when a documentary so effectively and succinctly captures the vibes of its subjects without either overbearing direction or (the eternally cursed) voice over, it is a good thing. I saw this on the big screen, and part of my love of this film already came from watching it with a group of other people. Situations changed, stories were told. The documentary with a narrative arc and undeniable authenticity is such a rare species. Particularly touching was the presence of dogs proving we are all alike in our need for companionship. Singer doesn't linger too long on one idea and allows the viewer room to exist within the outstanding atmosphere he creates.
Outstanding and impossible to imagine it not having been released properly in Sydney until its now 2 week run.
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