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The Wolfpack

The Wolfpack

Released 21 August 2015
Director Crystal Moselle

Bhagavan Angulo, Govinda Angulo, Jagadisa Angulo, Krsna Angulo, Mukunda Angulo, Narayana Angulo

Hunter Gray, Crystal Moselle, Alex Orlovsky, Izabella Tzenkova
Origin United States
Running Time 89 minutes
Genre Documentary, biography, drama
Rating 15A

Family ties.

Documentary filmmaker Crystal Moselle didn’t have to travel to the farthest reaches of the globe to study a self-contained tribe in their natural habitat; as it turns out, there was one living in a run-down apartment on the lower east side of Manhattan. The Angulo family - six brothers, one sister and their parents - live an isolated existence in their home, rarely setting foot outside their door. The brothers have become a tight knit pack, united in their fear of the outside world and in their love for the movies that make them feel like somehow they are a part of it. For many years, recreating these movies in painstaking detail was enough for them, until one day the real world invades their lives and little by little they begin to move outside the front door.

Stepping into the home of the Angulo family through the vantage point of Moselle’s camera is a uniquely inspiring and startling experience. Although the siblings have been raised without proper socialisation, they are beautifully creative, articulate young men who are a pleasure to spend time with. Their impressive movie recreations are a lot of fun to watch, particularly given their preference for the profanity and style of the work of Quentin Tarantino.

Between these homemade interludes, the film follows the direct cinema approach, observing the lives of the family without attempting to alter it or overtly comment upon it. This may be a problem for some; the lives of these young men has been stunted by the actions of their parents, there is even the suggestion of physical abuse at the hands of their father and it may seem to some observers that Moselle is not sufficiently confrontational in the face of such wrongdoing. This is certainly troubling but on the other hand, this non-judgemental approach leads to more honest and insightful interviews with the parents.

The resulting film is a testament to the power of creativity in the face of stifling conditions. Moselle has made an intimate documentary which never feels exploitative but instead celebrates cinema, family and the joy of freedom.

- Linda O’Brien