My Friend Paul

In making a movie about his childhood friend Paul—a bank robber who was released from prison during the filming of this one-hour documentary (1999)—Jonathan Berman actually makes a movie about himself. At loose ends when he learned Paul was incarcerated, Berman decided to jump-start his career by trying to link Paul's dramatic life as an adult with experiences they'd shared growing up on Long Island: eight-millimeter movies made when the two were boys feature Paul as a doomed, gun-toting character. Even as he chronicles Paul's difficulty readjusting to freedom, Berman portrays with rare honesty his own ambivalence about exploiting his friend.

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