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March 21, 2015 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
For Crystal Moselle, director of “The Wolfpack,” it began with a sight that many of us might not even have noticed: a bunch of teenage boys running through the streets.
“I was cruising down First Avenue in the East Village,” she says, “and these kids with long hair ran past me, weaving through the crowd. I counted one, two three of them… then three more. My instinct took over, and I chased after them, catching up at a stop light.”
If she had been expecting them to come from an exotic locale, her next surprise came when they told her that they were from Delancey Street on the Lower East Side. She was every bit as exotic and fascinating to them, however, and they were delighted when they found out that she was a filmmaker. “We made a time to meet so I could show them some cameras,” she says.
This was how she met the Angulo brothers, who had spent the last fourteen years hidden away in their parents’ apartment. Their understanding of the world outside of that space had been shaped by the films they watched together. They were pure film students; the vocabulary of cinema was almost their native tongue.
“It was serendipitous that I met these boys the first week they started going out into the world,” Moselle says. “It almost felt as if I had discovering a long lost tribe, except it was not from the edges of the world but from the streets of Manhattan.” Soon, with their parents’ permission, Moselle was chronicling their discovery of the world around them.
While the film does not shrink way from issues of abuse and confinement—the boys’ adolescent rebellion against their father’s strict rules against leaving the apartment, after all, precipitated their discovery—Moselle was fascinated by the harmony that the Angulo family had managed to achieve, and by the level of creativity that the brothers had engaged in during their years inside.
“Their personal style is directly related to their favorite characters from their favorite movies,” she explains. Although much of their clothing came from the Salvation Army, they were already veteran costume designers. “They’d tape blue Nike swooshes on tennis shoes to look like Marty McFly’s, or cut up a woman's rain coat and sew it into the shape of Mad Max's leather biker vest.”
Quentin Tarantino, in particular, was an obsession for them, and they especially liked to dress in the suits of the “Reservoir Dogs” stars.
Five years later, the brothers are still discovering the world, although that process of discovery has changed. Only one of them, Govinda, has moved out of the apartment; several are embarking upon careers in film and stage.
“It has been an incredible journey for all of us,” Moselle reflects, “and it is strange to think that this story could never be told the same way again, with the same sense of innocence and discovery. Their minds and perceptions have already incorporated the rest of the outside world.”
— Lara Klaber
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03/21/15 @ 7:20 PM – The Wolfpack