STREAMING FILM SCHOOL
When Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
By Robert Silva
These true-life mysteries will keep you asking questions long after they’re over.
Fact and fiction aren’t easy to separate in these true-life tales that take the audience down a rabbit hole. Nothing is as it seems in Capturing the Friedmans, Indictment: The McMartin Trial, and Tickled — film investigations that only get more perplexing as they progress. Crimes are thrown into doubt. Guilt becomes a guessing game. It’s a reality warping journey, experienced by the audience. Don't expect answers at the end-credit crawl.
The Story: High-school teacher Arnold Friedman’s house is raided, revealing a stash of child pornography. This leads to charges of molesting students in his basement — suspicions that spread to his 18-year-old son Jesse. But not all the alleged victims agree on what happened, and by whom.
The Take: Enter one of the most mind-bending of American institutions: the family. Using home movies shot by son David in the lead-up to
The Story: Seven preschool teachers are accused of sexual abuse in the mid-1980s. An enterprising lawyer (James Woods) takes the helm of the defense, as similar cases ripple across the country.
The Take: An intriguing companion piece to Capturing the Friedmans, this HBO docudrama explores
The Story: Filmmaker David Farrier investigates the niche universe of "competitive, endurance tickling." It’s all fun and games until the New Zealand native is hit with legal threats. As he dives deeper
The Take: Much like tickling itself, the film starts off funny and then the laughter starts to feel a little desperate. And then it turns painful. Unable to get to the bottom of the bizarre tickling videos he’s uncovered, Farrier travels to the United States to examine the personalities on the margin of this sport, but is it a business, or even a fetish? Many of the young men in the tickling videos have been threatened and blackmailed. Farrier is blocked from visiting a set. The intimidation mounts. As the separate strands of the story start to come together, the docu-comedy becomes at techno-thriller, with the biggest twist reserved for the head-spinning finale. Like all these films, it’s a journey you have to take to understand.