Hot Docs 2015 Review: The Wolfpack
Crystal Moselle’s The Wolfpack contains one of the most fascinating subjects seen in a North American documentary this year, and provides an compelling reflection on the influence that cinema can have on our lives.
The story concerns the six Angulo brothers (Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Krsna, Mukunda, and Narayana), who have been confined inside their parents Lower East Manhattan apartment for most of their lives, only leaving a seldom amount of times per year. The way in which the siblings interact and understand the outside world is through their DVD collection, which they watch obsessively to the point of filming their own pitch-perfect recreations (such films include Reservoir Dogs, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Dark Knight). These scenes factor into the documentary numerous times, and audiences will be amazed by the level of detail and authenticity seen in their absorption of the cinematic language.
Moselle’s position in the story enables the brothers to step out into the world with a fresh perspective, and engage in daily activities many of us take for granted. While such sequences are depicted with wonder and awe, they lack the same sense of intrigue apparent in the Angulos’ state of isolation, and it is clear that there is far greater potential to be explored beyond what is featured.
Despite this, The Wolfpack is a must-see for fans of popular film, as it is a remarkable testament to how the medium can resonate with spectators as both a learning tool and a mode of inspiration.