Capturing the Friedmans

The Friedman Family loved film, and seemingly lived their lives through the lens of a 8mm or video camera. The footage they captured showed children frolicking, lame family skits, and the complete disintegration of the family after the father (Arnold) and one of his sons (Jesse) are brought up on hundreds of child molestation charges. This family's fascination and connection to film is inexplicable, filming fights, insanity, and even post-prison reunions. While it sounds like a "clever indie" rehash of "The Truman Show", Capturing the Friedmans is an entirely true story, brought to us by HBO Documentaries and Magnolia Pictures. Through modern interviews with the children and mother juxtaposed with tons of family footage we get to see a suburban NY family fall apart and eventually turn on each other. I was deeply disturbed on many levels. The obvious aspect of child molestation notwithstanding, the willingness of this family to videotape the most intimate aspects of their life (and then to allow this laundry to be aired to the world) really stunned me. It simply amazes me how disconnected the family is from each other, and in some cases reality. HBO has impressed me over the course of the past few years with the quality of their in-house productions, and this film is no exception.