Capturing the Friedmans
In 2003, Andrew Jarecki released his documentary "Capturing the Friedmans", which explores a seemingly normal middle-class families struggle when the father and son are charged with sexual abuse and molestation in 1987. The Friedman's from the outside seem like a healthy family, abiding in a fairly exclusive Great Neck, Long Island community; the father Arnold is a Columbia Graduate and a school teacher, while the mother Elaine, a housewife. They have three sons David, Seth, and Jessie whom appear to be a happy, intelligent, and good-humored group of brothers.
The power and prestige of this film comes not from its controversial and serious subject matter, but from the unbiased way in which the story is presented. Jarecki gives the audience an equal amount of facts that could be used to argue both sides of the equation, which leaves one realizing that perhaps what really transpired isn't the point he's aiming for in this film. The audience is left not knowing whether or not Arnold and his son Jesse committed the crimes, but instead they are left realizing truth is irrelevant, because we will never really know exact details, just the disintegration and tragic destruction of the Friedman Family. Regardless of the validity of the claims, there definitely seems to have been something unusual and tragic about the collapsing Friendman Family. The patriarchal/ matriarchal relationship was broken, Arnold and Elaine didn't seem very much in love anymore, and the boundaries between the parents and the children became less pyramid like and more horizontal. The power shifted. Arnold seems to be the only one in the family whom had maintained strict lines of personal privacy, and he maintained power over the three children. So when Arnold (power) fell, everything else can be described by Elaine's metaphor from the film: "If there is a rowboat and its sinking, and the rowboat is tied to a rock, you have to disconnect the rowboat, even though the rock is sinking."
The father Arnold Friedman was initially under investigation because child pornography ordered in his name from Europe was intersected by the police, and being a school teacher this raised a number of ethical issues. Through a police set up Arnold was tricked into taking the magazine from a police officer, and thus a search warrant was instituted. The police found piles of child pornography magazines hidden next to his piano, and in his office. His wife seemed unaware of these magazines, but not because Arnold Although, the photographs of the crime scene show an organized normal looking house, the polices claims make it sound like they had porno on their coffee table. Regardless of this, Arnold had a history of fervent sexuality in his life, beginning in early childhood he was exposed to the very private...