The Wolfpack: Six Brothers Raised by Movies for 14 Years

Meet the stars of the documentary The Wolfpack.

"It really feels like summer now" -Mukunda ?☀️??? #thewolfpackfilm

A photo posted by The Wolfpack (@thewolfpackfilm) on

These are the Angulo brothers: Bhagavan, Govinda, Narayana, Mukunda, Krsna, and Jagadisa.

It’s a documentary about six brothers who, for 14 years, very rarely left their NYC apartment.

The Wolfpack Documentary

No one in their 800-tenant building had any idea there was a 9-person family essentially hibernating year round. According to one brother, “Sometimes we got out a few times a year, up to nine times a year, one year not at all.”

Their strict, religious father didn’t want them to leave home because he was afraid they would be “corrupted.”

The Wolfpack Oscar

 

Credit: Magnolia Films

The boys’ father, Oscar Angulo, was the only one in the house who had a key to the front door. He blocked it with a ladder, and at one point became so paranoid that he covered all the windows with blankets, blocking any light from coming in.

The boys’ mother didn’t have much freedom, either.

The Wolfpack
Credit: Magnolia Films

Their mother, Susanne Reisenbichler, was forbidden from communicating with the outside world. Her sister once sent a private investigator to look for her. In the documentary, Susanne talks her mother for the first time in 20 years. “She had the worst of it. She had more rules than we did. Anything she did wrong and she was put on trial,” said Naranya to Nightline.

Their parents met in Peru.

Credit: @thewolfpackfilm / Instagram

Their mother, Susanne, met their father in Peru while hiking Machu Picchu in 1989. After they married, the two first lived on a Hare Krishna reserve, then later in a van before settling down in NYC, where they raised their seven children. Neither parent worked, and the family subsisted on welfare and the money Susanne earned from the city for homeschooling.

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What did they do at home for all those years? Watch movies.

The Wolfpack Documentary

The brothers, who were homeschooled, were allowed to watch movies – any movie and as often as they pleased. The brothers claim to have seen over 10,000 films. “They were like a door into another world,” said Narayana to the Wall Street Journal. Jagadisa (who now goes by Eddie) added: “Movies shaped us to be who were are.”

The main focus of The Wolfpack is the boys’ fascination for film.

The Wolfpack
Credit: Magnolia Films

The boys would transcribe their favorite movies, memorize every line, movement, and expression, and then act them out accompanied by homemade props. They reenacted movies such as The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, Taxi Driver and Reservoir Dogs.

Their creativity is impressive.

The Wolfpack
Credit: Magnolia Films

The boys used their imaginations and minimal resources to create ingenious sets and costumes. Here, Mukunda is dressed in a Batman costume made out of yoga mats and cardboard.

 And their acting chops are solid:

CREDIT: Tribeca Film Festival / YouTube

The Angulo brothers reenacted scenes from some of their favorite Robert DeNiro films for the Tribeca Film Festival.

Although they had fun with movies, the brothers still had plenty of strict rules to follow.

The Wolfpack documentary
Credit: Magnolia Films

The boys were made to grow their hair out long because their father believed long hair was a “symbol of power.” They were only allowed to use one of the two bathrooms in their apartment and were banned from using two rooms that shared walls with their neighbors. Their father didn’t want anyone in the building to be suspicious of his unusual child-rearing practices.

The boys also have an older sister.

Wolfpack Documentary

Her name is Vishnu. According to the NY Post, she has Turner’s Syndrome, a rare developmental disorder. Vishnu is seldom mentioned in the documentary.

 In 2010, one of the Angulo brothers finally left the house.

Mukunda broke the mold when he decided to leave the house for the first time. He donned a homemade mask à la Michael Myers in Halloween. Freaked out shopkeepers called the police and Mukunda was detained. Adhering to his father’s demands to never speak to strangers, Mukunda was thought to be mentally ill and taken to Bellevue Hospital. He was released a week later. Mukunda’s defiance inspired the other brothers to start venturing out on their own.

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In January, The Wolfpack took home the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

About five years ago, filmmaker Crystal Moselle befriended the brothers. After hearing their story, Moselle began working The Wolfpack. For years, Moselle was the only non-Angulo allowed in the house. She taught the brothers about filmmaking and basic social skills. As a way to get know people, she suggested they ask the question: “What kind of movies do you like?”

And despite the years hardship, the Angulo brothers have made their mother proud.

Mama Wolf #thewolfpackfilm ✨

A photo posted by The Wolfpack (@thewolfpackfilm) on

Here’s the official trailer for The Wolfpack.

Credit: Vice / YouTube

Add this doc to your movie cue stat. It’s available on iTunes and On Demand.

What would you do if you couldn’t leave your home for more than a decade? mitú wants to know.

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