Joshua Rich
February 13, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

”If you learn anything from the Friedmans, you learn to keep the camera going,” says Andrew Jarecki. His Oscar-nominated documentary, Capturing the Friedmans, looks at a Long Island family devastated by allegations of pedophilia — a study made striking with the inclusion of the clan’s often explosive home movies. So Jarecki attended early screenings with a camera crew in tow. ”When we premiered in New York, we got a call that the entire Great Neck law-enforcement community was coming,” he says. ”I knew the Friedmans and the lawyers were going to be there. We wound up having this altercation after the screening.” That fascinating footage appears on Friedmans’ superior DVD (unrated, 107 mins., 2003, HBO), alongside a trove of mini family portraits (Jesse now attends college and fights to clear his name; David is New York’s top birthday-party clown). All of which reminds us, Jarecki notes, that unlike fictional features, docs have ”a very deep backstory — and a forward story, too.”

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