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Monday · February 09 2004

I could watch Capturing the Friedmans ten more times and still be undecided on the truth. After the film, I watched another 90 minutes of extra interview and discussion footage on the DVD and I only became more conflicted. I even watched Just a Clown, director Andrew Jarecki's short film about Silly Billy aka David Friedman, the embryo of the Friedman saga. The family fascinates me. They are sick, dysfunctional, manipulative, tragic and completely real.

I want to know all the unavailable facts behind Capturing the Friedmans, but that's not possible. Everybody and nobody tell the truth with absolute conviction. How can this be? How can there be so many dissenting versions of reality among police, lawyers, witnesses, and within the Friedmans themselves?

Memory, perspective, and context are key to storytelling. Even the uninterrupted filming of an event is marred by singular perspective. Friedmans is a documentary with a large amount of actual footage, but it's still a story -- a recreated version of the truth. Thousands of judges listen to stories every day in thousands of courtrooms. The truth becomes the story that best appeals to their sense of logic and plausibility. They don't know the truth any more than I do about the Friedmans.


If you rent this film on DVD and enjoy it, take a good look at the second disc of extras, especially Discussion, Just a Clown, and Jesse's part in Family.

Choosing between Fog of War and Capturing the Friedmans for Best Documentary is a much more interesting pick for me than the Best Picture race. I enjoyed both movies as much or more than anything nominated for Best Picture and highly recommend them.

Archived: Watch » February 2004
What you had to say:
February 09 2004

i saw "friedmans" in the theater so i didn't see the bonus footage. do you think it's worth renting it to see that? i found myself very frustrated with that film, yet overall i found it fascinating. the extras don't help to draw a conclusion either? saw that up in madison with my cousins and 2 friends. it was fun to hear everyone's opinions on it afterwards at dinner.

p.s. we should have sent some "freedom fries" over to the frenchie's table

February 09 2004

I think the extras really add alot. In the "Discussion" section almost every person in the movie is at the Tribeca premier _together_ watching the movie (David, Jesse, the lawyers, the cops, the investigative journalist woman). They have a little interactive Q&A and bring up things that Jarecki didn't include. Most of those items are on the extras disc, so you can see them.

"Just a Clown" is also really worth a look if for nothing else to see a Manhattan mom admit she spent 6 to 8 months deciding what to put in the party loot bags for her kid's birthday. Some sick ass parents out there. Having a child doesn't scare me so much anymore. It's having to interact with other parents that horrifies me.

The extras don't confirm anything except that the witness "computer student" who is shrouded in darkness has got to be a total liar. But that's still just my opinion.

February 11 2004

Stace watched it tonight and I sat through a second time. I checked out some of the extras I didn't have time for the other night.

I feel much more decided about the characters after seeing it again. I hope some of you will rent this movie, because I'd be interested to discuss it.

© 2004 Jason Keglovitz