Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middleclass Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.
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In the late 1980's, the Friedmans - father and respected computer and music teacher Arnold Friedman, mother and housewife Elaine Friedman, and their three grown sons, David Friedman, Seth Friedman and Jesse Friedman - of Great Neck, Long Island, are seemingly your typical middle class American family. They all admit that the marriage was by no means close to being harmonious - Arnold and Elaine eventually got divorced - but the sons talk of their father, while also not being always there for them, as being a good man. This façade of respectability masks the fact that Arnold was buying and distributing child pornography. Following a sting operation to confirm this fact, the authorities began to investigate Arnold for sexual abuse of the minor-aged male students of his computer classes, which he held in the basement of the family home. Based on interviews with the students, not only was Arnold charged with and ultimately convicted of multiple counts of sodomy and sexual abuse of these ... Written by
Director/producer Andrew Jarecki was in the process of making a documentary about people who work as children's birthday party clowns in New York which led to the discovery of David Friedman's story. David Friedman was considered the most successful of the city's party clowns. The resulting clown documentary, Just a Clown (2004), is included as an extra on the DVD for this movie. See more »
Only the immediate members of the Friedman family (listed 1-5) are credited in a standard cast list. The other cast members are identified by on-screen graphics. See more »
In the 80's, in the upper-middle-class district of Great Neck, the awarded Professor Arnold Friedman is arrested for possession of some magazines of child pornography. A further investigation of the police discloses that apparently Arnold and his eighteen years old son Jesse molested his young students during their private computer class. Their Jewish family tears apart with the situation and the sentences of Arnold and Jesse.
"Capturing the Friedmans" deals with two very unpleasant themes, pedophilia and destruction of a family, and is a great documentary. The director Andrew Jarecki presents both sides of the contradictory story with a total exemption and neutrality. Arnold had filmed or photographed the major events of his family since he had been dating Elaine. In the 80's, camcorders were very popular and the Friedman's sons followed the costume of their father, recording their meetings and discussions. Andrew Jarecki discloses the privacy of the Friedmans and shows many ambiguous situations through the footages of their homemade videos and interviews. The viewers can witness the process of an apparently normal family being completely shattered. In the end, we see manipulation, ambiguity, contradiction in the case, but never the truth. Therefore it is impossible to judge and have opinion if Arnold and Jesse Friedman were guilty or not. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Na Captura dos Friedmans" ("Capturing the Friedmans")
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