Seven children. One apartment. One rule: No going outside, ever.
Imagine growing up in America’s most populated city but barely having contact with the outside world.
This was a reality for seven children confined to their Lower East Side Apartment in New York, New York. And if you’re desperate to know what the hell that’s like, you’re in luck — a hugely successful doco called The Wolfpack takes you right smack-bang into their very confined lives. It just won the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Festival.
Here’s the family.
The Angulo children — brothers Bhagavan, Govinda, Narayana, Mukunda, Krisna and Jagadesh and sister Visny — lived together their whole lives. They were only allowed to leave the apartment a handful of times each year.
One year, they didn’t venture outside at all.
That’s 365 days inside a small apartment with all your siblings. Trapped, home-schooled, and probably suffering from a form of existential claustrophobia we can’t even imagine.
They had no friends and no proper contact with the outside world. Their only real interaction with other humans weas watching films.
To entertain themselves, the Angulo brothers would occasionally venture outside to re-enact scenes from their favourite movies, like Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects. Here they are, dressed like the gang from Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs.
During one of these rare occasions the brothers — then aged 11 to 18 — met a young film director, Crystal Moselle, who befriended them, and, over a four-year period, filmed the documentary during visits to their home.
“I am so lucky to have been on First Avenue that day at that precise moment,” Moselle told The New York Times.
“I felt like I discovered a long-lost tribe from the Amazon.”
Ms Moselle said the boys’ father lived in fear, and tried to keep them in their house by having the only key to the door.
“Their father had, I believe, a lot of fear of the outside world and he wanted them to have their own way of raising their kids.
“Everything was pretty much kept within the household. What’s so fascinating about them is they really have created their own world through their interpretation of the films they’ve watched.”
The documentary has now received widespread acclaim, including the top gong for a documentary feature at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which the Angulo brothers attended.
“These boys are so incredibly passionate about movies and for them to get the opportunity to go to Sundance, it’s their dream come true,” Moselle shared.
“To experience all this and be around other filmmakers and actors, the people that create their dreams, it’s pretty fabulous I would say.”
The Wolfpack will be released later this year. Here’s an interview with the director.