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Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts

Apr 14, 2019

Capturing the Friedmans (2003)


Truth is often more harrowing than fiction, but it is a desperately elusive entity; even in a case such as the one explored in this disturbing but mesmerizing documentary, for which first-time filmmaker Andrew Jarecki enjoyed remarkable access to his subjects. Even Jarecki, who persuaded the family of accused child molesters Arnold and Jesse Friedman to cooperate with him, cannot decide whether the two are guilty, and his film raises as many questions as answers.

Capturing the Friedmans deals with the middle-class Long Island family torn apart in 1987 by child-molestation charges filed after a police raid uncovered kiddie porn apparently belonging to dad Arnold, a respected high school science teacher. He and his 18-year-old son, Jesse, were subsequently accused of molesting dozens of young boys, and their travails are painstakingly documented in this videotaped compilation, which even includes family footage recorded by another Friedman son, David.

We see strategy sessions between Arnold and his attorneys, conflicting testimony from alleged victims, posturing by police investigators and legal teams, and even the heartrending family farewells taped the night... (Barnes & Noble)

The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman (2001)


The Iceman is an appropriate title for this pair of HBO specials, because the words of former Mafia enforcer Richard Kuklinski will chill you to the bone.

Speaking in the monotonous drone of a man who has numbed himself with remorseless brutality, Kuklinski was first interviewed in 1991, five years after receiving consecutive life sentences for multiple murders.

Specializing in the tidy use of cyanide, Kuklinski lived a double life, like the fictional hitmen in The Sopranos and Road to Perdition, passing as a "businessman" and devoted husband and father. He describes numerous killings in graphic detail, expressing nearly tearful regret only when lamenting the deception of his family.

A vicious product of child abuse, Kuklinski was visited again by HBO in 2001, but this shameless redundancy was an obvious attempt to capitalize on the Sopranos phenomenon. Fascinating as a firsthand record of Mafia killing, these otherwise unsavory interviews serve little purpose beyond morbid exploitation.

Directed by: Arthur Ginsberg

Memory of the Camps (1985)


Sixty years ago, in the spring of 1945, Allied forces liberating Europe found evidence of atrocities which have tortured the world's conscience ever since. As the troops entered the German concentration camps, they made a systematic film record of what they saw. Work began in the summer of 1945 on the documentary, but the film was left unfinished.

FRONTLINE found it stored in a vault of London's Imperial War Museum and, in 1985, broadcast it for the first time using the title the Imperial War Museum gave it, 'Memory of the Camps.

You may have heard the news that the world will soon see "Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary." That intriguing sounding announcement belies a more complicated reality. This new, restored film draws on footage shot by the British Army Film Unit in Nazi concentration camps in 1945, which was actually released in the mid-80s, in a film called Memory of the Camps.

This first version, which you can watch above, took nearly forty years to reach the public, when it was finally released in 1984, first at the Berlin Film Festival, then on PBS. Until that time, the original footage sat unused in storage at the Imperial War Museum, consigned there after the Allied military government decided that such publicity for Nazi atrocities wouldn't get Germany reconstructed any faster. How, right in the aftermath of the Second World War, might we have reacted to its hauntingly revealing coverage of Bergen-Belsen?

According to the Independent, a screening of Memory of the Camps' material left even Alfred Hitchcock, certainly no stranger to death and malevolence, "so traumatised that he stayed away from Pinewood Studios for a week." He'd shown up there in the first place as an advisor, and in that capacity offered director Sidney Bernstein advice on how, visually, to place these shocking revelations in a recognizable geographical and human context. "He took a circle round each concentration camp as it were on a map, different villages, different places and the numbers of people," Bernstein remembers. "Otherwise you could show a concentration camp, as you see them now, and it could be anywhere, miles away from humanity. He brought that into the film."


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