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Capturing the Friedmans by contrast to The Fog of War features events that took place on a far narrower canvas – the lives and times of a close-knit suburban family living in a prosperous community called Great Neck on the north shore of Long Island, New York. That said, in common with The Fog of War, the film is based on footage that gives access to testimony that under normal circumstances would not be broadcast. Just as having an ex-politician admitting to serious errors committed when in power is highly novel, even more so is home movie footage shot while a family had two of its members undergoing police investigation, trial and then imprisonment for sex crimes supposedly carried out against dozens of young boys. This in a nutshell is the grim subject matter of Jarecki's film.

Friedman family groupThe Friedman family

It's a challenging topic for consideration in school and yet Capturing the Friedmans is well worth studying. It concerns a completely compelling tale of family dysfunction and loyalty. It raises profound matters of truth and justice offering in the end only doubts, where, as regards the authorities and their investigation, there should be assurance. It plants a large question mark against the previous legal and judicial certainties surrounding the behaviour of Arnold and Jesse Friedman and invites broader conjecture about the nature of family life and the potential hysteria attendant on crimes involving children and paedophilia.