From the Writer

When selecting a documentary to write about for my final paper, the choice was easy. Capturing the Friedmans has Jews, molestation, and clowns—what could be more compelling? The documentary plays like a nonfictional revamp of Blue Velvet, exposing the seedy underbelly of a seemingly idyllic town and normal American family. Like David Lynch’s classic, Capturing the Friedmans also proves depressing, disturbing, and surprisingly humane. But unlike Blue Velvet—in which the characters are fictional and thus saved from real public scrutiny—Capturing the Friedmans weighs its subjects under a harsh light that changes the public perception of the troubled titular family. After struggling with an essay topic, I chose to explore the question of who is ultimately responsible for the way the Friedmans are represented in the film. Since writing this essay, I’ve learned how to tighten my arguments (I apologize in advance for the wordiness and repetition) and make my writing a little more interesting to read. Fortunately, I’ve had the help of two great professors, Marisa Milanese and William Giraldi, who have reiterated the importance of being diplomatic and dynamic in writing, whether in discussing incorrigible Updikian protagonists or tempestuous birthday clowns.

BENJAMIN EISEN is from Portland, Oregon and is majoring in Film & TV. He’s a member of the BU Treblemakers here and will be interning with Regan Communications in the fall. He also enjoys making humorous rap videos, playing guitar, and running. This essay was written for Marisa Milanese’s course, WR 100: Documentary Film: History, Theory, and Form.

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