Wednesday 25 April 2018

The Wolfpack: reclusive brothers 'excited' about life on the outside

Eddie Angulo, Mukunda Angulo, Crystal Moselle, Govinda Angulo and Narayana Angulo at The Wolfpack screening
Eddie Angulo, Mukunda Angulo, Crystal Moselle, Govinda Angulo and Narayana Angulo at The Wolfpack screening

Brothers who spent their childhood locked in a Manhattan apartment said the world is too beautiful for them to be angry as they saw their story retold in the documentary film The Wolfpack.

The six Angulo brothers were confined to the New York apartment by their father, and spent years seeing the world only through films such as The Godfather and Batman - which they would then re-enact in homemade costumes.

Mukunda Angulo, who was the first to escape the apartment at the age of 15, explained that the most surprising thing was "how nice everyone is", despite what they had been taught about the outside world.

"We're like - 'Oh, everyone's really nice,'" he said at the gala screening at the Picturehouse Central, Piccadilly, London. "We were raised to believe that everything is dangerous, everyone is out to get you in some way, but when we went out and explored, everyone was as nice as a person can be."

His brother Govinda Angulo revealed that entering the outside world had been a jolt after seeing it only by watching thousands of films.

"It's definitely not scripted, and things are very spur-of-the-moment," he said.

"One thing I realised is that we would ask for people to repeat something over and over, because in the movies everything is enunciated, everything is clear, it's cut."

Crystal Moselle, director of The Wolfpack, approached the boys on a street in New York shortly after they had started escaping the apartment together. They bonded over their shared love of film, though the Angulo brothers soon began to talk to her about their upbringing.

"It was a process, she was our first friend so we kind of opened up to her," Govinda said.

"All we'd talk about was movies and we'd want to make projects together, and then Crystal decided she wanted to make a movie a couple of years into this process, and then we just went along with it.

"We knew when we met Crystal and we got to know her better - she was our first dinner guest - that this was somebody special who was going to tell the story right."

Though not initially filming for the documentary, Moselle knew she had the foundations for a movie "when I saw a full transformation of my characters," she said. "I think that most importantly their mother - that she just really had all these beautiful changes."

In the documentary, the boys' mother hints at the extent of her husband's control over her, but also supports her children as they enter the outside world.

Mukunda revealed that the brothers "all love our mum to this day", but with their father, who still lives in the apartment where they grew up, they have "an understanding", giving them their "own space".

Despite their restricted upbringing, exploring the world beyond their apartment has left the boys "excited about life in general - networking, relationships, friendships", Govinda said.

Mukunda explained: "We've learned there's too much beauty in the world to be angry."

:: The Wolfpack opens in UK cinemas on Friday, August 21.

Press Association

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