Archive for December 15th, 2009

by Joel Bocko

Putting aside the fact that much of Capturing the Friedmans is in video – certainly the family home movies which provide its elusive emotional core – this 2003 documentary calls to mind those competing definitions of cinema: “truth 24 frames a second,” “lies 24 frames a second.” While nonfiction films would seem to sway the pendulum in the former direction, they actually make the issue even more complex. On the one hand, what we are seeing, especially in a documentary like this which utilizes primary source material (home movies compete with interviews for screen time, and there are no re-enactments – thankfully) is an undeniably direct representation of external, physical reality. On the other hand, what lies behind that exterior – what is the shell of the image concealing? And more importantly, why this particular footage, and why shown in this particular way? If the truth is in what we see on screen, then the lies – or at least the mysteries – are what we don’t see, what’s hidden behind and littered around the frame. (more…)

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