Archive of films Capturing the Friedmans / Capturing the Friedmans

2003, 107 min

Section: Forum of Independents - Competition
Year: 2004

In 1987, in Great Neck, Long Island, Arnold Friedman, a retired schoolteacher in his fifties, who taught computer classes for children in his home basement, and his son Jesse, then eighteen, were arrested and charged for committing repeated acts of sexual abuse on boys who attended the classes. Despite its sensational subject, this Academy Award-nominated documentary has been made with tact, dedication, and respect. A complex and ambivalent portrait of a seemingly typical American family. 


In 1987, in Great Neck, Long Island. Arnold Friedman, a retired schoolteacher in his fifties  and his 18-year-old son Jesse are arrested and charged with committing repeated acts of sexual abuse on boys who attended the father’s computer classes in their basement. Until then the Friedmans were a typical, upper-middleclass Jewish family: a father, a mother and three sons. From that moment their world is instantly transformed. With their Great Neck community in an uproar, the family undergoes a media onslaught. Given access to their old home movies and family videos, Jarecki constructs his film as an investigation, but our expectations are constantly subverted. The film delves not just into the life of a family but also into a community, a legal system, and an era. By constantly changing perspectives and keeping the audience’s judgments and understanding in flux, Capturing the Friedmans embodies the difficulty of capturing the truth.

About the director

Andrew Jarecki (b. 1963) is a graduate of Princeton University (1985) and resides with his family in New York. He produced the short film Swimming, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival and also won the Focus Film Award. He is also a musician. Capturing the Friedmans, Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary, is Jarecki’s first feature-length film.


Fortissimo Films
Van Diemenstraat 100, 1013 CN, Amsterdam
Tel: +31 206 273 215
Fax: +31 206 261 155

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Forum of Independents - Competition
Director: Andrew Jarecki
Dir. of Photography: Adolfo Doring
Music: Andrea Morricone
Editor: Richard Hankin
Producer: Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling
Production: Hit the Ground Running Films
Cast: Arnold Friedman, Elaine Friedman, David Friedman, Seth Friedman, Jesse Friedman, Howard Friedman
Contact: Fortissimo Films


Winnie Lau



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