The Wolfpack

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The Wolfpack
Wolfpack film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCrystal Moselle[1]
Produced by
  • Hunter Gray
  • Izabella Tzenkova
  • Crystal Moselle
  • Alex Orlovsky[1]
Music by
  • Danny Bensi
  • Saunder Jurriaans
  • Aska Matsumiya[1]
Edited byEnat Sidi[1]
Production
companies
  • Kotva Films
  • Verisimilitude
Distributed byMagnolia Pictures
Release date
  • January 25, 2015 (2015-01-25) (Sundance)
  • June 12, 2015 (2015-06-12)
Running time
90 minutes[2][1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$1.2 million[3]

The Wolfpack is a 2015 American documentary film about a family who homeschooled and raised their seven children in the confinement of their apartment in the Lower East Side of New York City. The film, directed by Crystal Moselle, premiered on January 25, 2015 at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize.[4][5][6][7][8] The film went on to be the Closing Night film of Maryland Film Festival 2015.

Synopsis[edit]

Locked away in an apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan for fourteen years, the Angulo family's seven children— six brothers: Bhagavan (b. 1991/1992), twins Narayana (who now goes by Josef)[9] and Govinda (b. 1993/1994),[10] Mukunda (b. 1995/1996), Krisna (who now goes by Glenn, b. 1997/1998), and Jagadesh (who now goes by Eddie, b. 1998/1999), and their big sister Visnu (b. 1990/1991) — learned about the world through watching films. They also re-enact scenes from their favorite movies. They were homeschooled by their mother and confined to their sixteenth story four-bedroom apartment in the Seward Park Extension housing project.[11] Their father, Oscar, had the only door key and prohibited the kids and their mother Susanne from leaving the apartment except for a few strictly-monitored trips on the "nefarious" streets.[12][11]

Everything changed for them when 15-year-old Mukunda decided to walk around the neighborhood in January 2010, against their father's instruction to remain inside. All the brothers then decided to begin exploring Manhattan and the world outside.[12]

Production[edit]

In 2010, Crystal Moselle, then a graduate of New York's School of Visual Arts, chanced upon a group of six peculiar-looking siblings while walking down First Avenue in Manhattan.[4][5] The siblings, who were then between 11 and 18 years old, wore black Ray-Ban sunglasses reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs and had waist-long hair.[4] Crystal became friends with them and later found out that the siblings had been confined to their Manhattan apartment for 14 years; that they had learned about the world by watching movies; and that most, if not all, social situations were new to them.[4] They bonded quickly with Crystal because of their shared love of films.[12]

The Tribeca Film Institute provided financial support and assistance to the film director.[4] Magnolia Pictures bought worldwide rights to the documentary.[13]

The film had its London premiere on August 21, 2015.[10]

Reception[edit]

Crystal Moselle, The Wolfpack's director, at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival

As of 1 March 2016, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 85% of 125 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.1 out of 10. The site's summary states: "Offering a unique look at modern fears and our fascination with film, The Wolfpack is a fascinating—and ultimately haunting—urban fable."[14] As of 30 June 2015, on Metacritic the film has a score of 74 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[15]

Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian gave the film a five-star review and compared it to Grey Gardens, saying, "Not since Grey Gardens has a film invited us into such a strange, barely-functioning home and allowed us to gawk without reservation."[16] Scott Foundas of Variety also gave the film a positive review: "There is much to enjoy in director Crystal Moselle's debut documentary feature, which if nothing else begs a where-are-they-now sequel a few years down the road."[17] Jordan Raup of The Film Stage in his review said that "The Wolfpack is an endlessly fascinating documentary, but it’s not quite a great one."[18] Eric Kohn in his review for Indiewire graded the film B+ and said that "Crystal Moselle's portrait of teens trapped in an apartment for most of their lives is filled with compelling mysteries."[19]

However, John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter criticized the film, saying, "This debut doc doesn't quite make the most of fascinating and likeable subjects."[20] Kate Erbland of The Playlist said that "'The Wolfpack' is a film about access, and though we are admitted into the world of the eponymous Wolfpack, not understanding how we got there robs the film of compelling commentary."[21] Paul Byrne, while conceding that Wolfpack is 'a confronting and confounding true story', writes; "Some of the boys were barely teenagers when Moselle started to film, too young to give consent. The sister is mentally handicapped, so incapable of consent. The father might be mentally ill – another problem of consent...The question then becomes how much [Moselle's] presence changes what we see."[22] Steve Thomas of The Conversation points to "ethical questions surrounding The Wolfpack", saying; "truth is that whilst filmmakers can cite signed release forms to justify their actions, these are just pieces of paper. Consent in longitudinal documentary projects (which follow people over a long period of time) is an ongoing process."[23]

The story was covered in the June 19, 2015 episode of ABC 20/20.[12]

Accolades[edit]

List of Accolades
Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
31st Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize
(U.S. Documentary)
Crystal Moselle Won[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "The Wolfpack". Sundance Institute. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  2. ^ "THE WOLFPACK (15)". British Board of Film Classification. July 28, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Wolfpack (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Barnes, Brooks (January 23, 2015). "'The Wolfpack' Tells of One New York Apartment With Seven Children Locked Inside". New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Zeitchik, Steven (January 24, 2015). "'Wolfpack' follows 7 kids locked in an apartment, raised on films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  6. ^ Patterson, Adam (January 23, 2015). "Sundance 2015: Intriguing Documentary THE WOLFPACK Gets a Poster". Film Pulse. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  7. ^ Bernstein, Paula (January 22, 2015). "How I Shot That: First-Time Director and DP Crystal Moselle on the Vérité Style of 'The Wolfpack'". Indiewire. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  8. ^ Yuan, Jada (February 1, 2015). "Me & Earl & the Dying Girl Dazzles at Sundance". Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  9. ^ News, A. B. C. (2018-01-21). "'Wolfpack' family who spent years locked in apartment react to 13 captive siblings". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  10. ^ a b Jeffries, Stuart (August 16, 2015). "The Wolfpack do London: the brothers imprisoned for 14 years hit the big city". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Daniel Maurer (April 17, 2015). "The Wolfpack Documents a Band of Brothers Cloistered On the LES". Bedford + Bowery. New York Media, LLC. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d Gail Deutsch; Alexa Valiente (June 20, 2015). "The Moment When 'Wolfpack' Brother Decided to Escape". 20/20. ABC News. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  13. ^ Siegal, Tatiana (January 29, 2015). "Sundance: 'The Wolfpack' Sells to Magnolia (Exclusive)". Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  14. ^ "The Wolfpack". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  15. ^ "The Wolfpack". Metacritic. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  16. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (January 25, 2015). "Sundance 2015 review: The Wolfpack – five stars for study of six siblings who spent 17 years in one Manhattan flat". The Guardian. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  17. ^ Foundas, Scott (January 26, 2015). "Sundance Film Review: 'The Wolfpack'". Variety. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  18. ^ Raup, Jordan (January 30, 2015). "The Wolfpack Sundance Film Festival 2015 Review". The Film Stage. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  19. ^ Kohn, Eric (January 26, 2015). "Sundance Review: Sheltered Kids Find the World Through Movies in Fascinating Doc 'The Wolfpack'". Indiewire. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  20. ^ DeFore, John (January 25, 2015). "'The Wolfpack': Sundance Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  21. ^ Erbland, Kate (January 25, 2015). "Sundance Review: Potentially Compelling Documentary 'The Wolfpack' Plagued By Unanswered Questions". Indiewire. The Playlist (blog). Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  22. ^ Byrne, Paul (August 28, 2015). "The Wolfpack review: a confronting and confounding true story". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  23. ^ Thomas, Steve (September 14, 2015). "Wolfpack and the ethics of documentary filmmaking". The Conversation.
  24. ^ Marine, Joe (January 31, 2015). "Here Are Your 2015 Sundance Film Festival Winners". Nofilmschool.com. Retrieved February 2, 2015.

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Rich Hill
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary
2015
Succeeded by
Weiner