While Me And Earl And The Dying Girl was this year’s most popular entry in the “kids-making-homegrown-versions-of-their-favorite-movies” genre at this year’s Sundance, The Wolfpack, Crystal Moselle’s strange documentary about a family of shut-ins, built a reputation of its own as a black-sheep favorite of the fest.
Following the lives of the Angulo brothers, a group of six siblings who grew up creating elaborate recreations of movies like Reservoir Dogs and The Dark Knight Rises to distract themselves from their cloistered existence, the film looks and sounds like the closest thing to a real-life Dogtooth that we’re likely to see. But while Dogtooth examined a life cordoned off completely from the outside world, the titular Wolfpack do find a way to connect to society: Barred in by an enigmatic father figure, and living hand-to-mouth, the brothers find refuge in these filmic recreations. Moselle began filming the Angulos after one of the brothers started standing up to their dad, but The Wolfpack is filled with footage from the boys’ cinema-obsessed younger years.
The first trailer for the film premiered today, and it’s haunting and claustrophobic: The Angulo boys mournfully muse about their childhood, express alien reactions to the outside world, and clearly have a mounting case of cabin fever. But amid the trailer’s gloominess, there’s also lighter spectacle, like cereal-box and yoga-mat Batman suits and Tarantino-esque standoffs with much less lethal results. By the end, it also looks strangely hopeful, as the boys seem to break free both mentally and physically from their prison.
The trail of the tape
Title: The Wolfpack
Director: Crystal Moselle
Cast: Bhagavan Angulo, Govinda Angulo, Jagadisa Angulo, Krsna Angulo, Mukunda Angulo, Narayana Angulo
Release date: June 12, 2015
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “Without movies, life would be pretty boring.”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
While the rest of us have to wait at least a few weeks to get lost in The Wolfpack’s story, our own Noel Murray caught the film back at Sundance, and Tasha Robinson saw it at Tribeca a few weeks ago. Noel called it “disturbing and ultimately moving,” and specified that while the boys’ cinematic fetishism is the doc’s hook, the movie is really more an extended argument against helicopter parents than an exploration into the nature of their imprisonment.
Similarly, Tasha dispelled fears that the doc would leer at its subjects, writing, “But what starts out with a bit of a freakshow vibe, bringing their household’s bizarre rituals (their familial Halloween rite has to be seen to be believed) and alien assumptions to light, turns into a touching real-world drama, as they mature, rebel, escape their dictatorial father, emerge into the world, and reveal themselves as surprisingly well-adjusted and capable.”
Look for a full-length review and interview with Moselle in the coming weeks.