Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Our film today won The U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. It's The Wolfpack (2015; Rated R; Available on Netflix Streaming, DVD, and for a price on Amazon Prime).
A man in Peru, Oscar Angulo, who is a follower of Hare Krishna, marries an American traveler named Susanne. They move to New York and have seven children. The boys are Mukunda, Narayana, Govinda, Bhagavan, Krisna (Glenn), and Jagadesh (Eddie), and their sister is Visnu.
Oscar believes the streets of New York are a prison. Work is a prison. He locks up his family in an apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side. They live on welfare and a stipend their mother receives for homeschooling them. Their father allows them to leave the apartment in carefully supervised outings with him, during which they are not allowed to speak to anyone. Sometimes they leave the apartment several times during a year. One year, they don't leave at all.
Most of their view of the world comes from the five thousand movies on videocassette and DVD their father accumulates. The boys type scripts for their favorites. Then they re-enact the movies and film them. They seem particularly fond of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, and Martin Scorsese movies. They make their own costumes and prop guns.
Visnu is not a participant. She seems ill or disabled in some way.
It all changes one day during 2010, when Mukunda disobeys his father and leaves the apartment. He walks around the neighborhood. Soon, all the boys begin to experience the world.
Then a recent film school graduate named Crystal Moselle spots the boys, aged eleven to eighteen, as they walk together in New York. They wear matching black suits, black Ray Bans, and have waist-length black hair.
She becomes the first person they invite to their apartment, and she makes The Wolfpack.
To watch it, in parts, is to see what grown-up babies feel the first time they touch sand and go in salt water and feel the sun on their skin.
The boys, now young men, seem unusually pleasant, attractive, and intelligent. You need to see the documentary to learn more.
I watched The Wolfpack on Netflix Streaming. I will do something I don't think I've ever done before. I grant this film The Janie Junebug MUST SEE Seal of Approval.
Don't expect to be told what to think about this family. Moselle maintains her position as a documentary filmmaker--not a commentator. You must form your own opinions. I've done some research on the family today. If you want to Google them, then I suggest you watch the movie first.
Strange and amazing viewing!
Infinities of love,
Oh, I totally agree!! I watched this a few weeks ago and was mesmerized! What a true story--just amazing!! I found their story fascinating, puzzling, and strangely uplifting. Great choice, Janie!! :)ReplyDelete
Cool. I knew you would like it--didn't know you'd seen it.Delete
Hi Janie - interesting to find out about the film .. I hadn't heard of it. It does sound like strange and amazing viewing ... all the best - HilaryReplyDelete
I found it on a list of "must see" documentaries for 2015.Delete
I'm really interested in watching this film. It seems to me that it has to be very interesting. Where can I find The Wolfpack, to watch it?ReplyDelete
You can find it exactly where my post says you can find it.Delete
It's on my list. I'm glad you told us how the documentarian even knew about this family. Sometimes you read something that completely changes your philosophy and then you see that metaphor everywhere. For me, that was "I used to think that the only way to protect what I love was to clutch it closely but now I see that only results in smothering or crushing it in my grip. Let what you love go to spread that love outward. Love will endure."ReplyDelete
Interesting! This one hasn't been on my radar at all - will have to check out!ReplyDelete
I think you'll like it, but I'm not sure. We seem to have very different taste in movies. I remember you hated Midnight in Paris and Hugo. I've never recovered from that.Delete
Well, with that high rating, I really must see this movie!ReplyDelete
Yes, you must, but not with youngsters in the room. I forgot to say that they use a lot of profanity.Delete
OK that is so wild to hear about. Why did the family ever leave their homeland? Oscar seems to have a major phobia where his whole family is afflicted as well. I hope the kids are ok because being sheltered like this is just not right.ReplyDelete
The kids seem intelligent and articulate to me (actually, they are young men). I don't want to say more. You should watch the movie and then Google them.Delete
Huh. This looks interesting. Two of my brothers and I will soon be starting up movie night again; I'll have to suggest this one.ReplyDelete
Good movie to watch with family and discuss because their lives are so far off the norm.Delete