Seven New York siblings, who had a documentary made about their lives, spoke about how they were kept captive in their four bedroom apartment by their parents for 14 years and learned everything they knew by watching movies.
The story, which is a fascinating if not slightly disturbing one, was made into a full length documentary by filmmaker Crystal Moselle, telling the tale of what life was like for the Angulo siblings, also known as “The Wolfpack.”
The seven New York siblings, Bhagavan, 23, twins Govinda and Narayana, 22, Mukunda, 20, Krisna, 18, Jagadesh, 17, and their sister Visnu, were kept indoors by their father Oscar, a Peruvian immigrant and Hare Krishna devotee.
Oscar was reportedly so convinced that the outside world would corrupt his beloved kids that he kept them under lock and key for nearly a decade and a half.
However, after 14 years of captivity, one of the brothers managed to escape, paving the way for his other six siblings to break free.
In speaking about the sibling’s rare escape, Moselle told reporters, that in 2010, “It almost felt as if I had discovered a long lost tribe, except that it was not from the edges of the world but from the streets of Manhattan.”
Sadly, as a result of their father’s obsession with his kids being hostages in their own home, the Angulo siblings had no friends, “They had no friends,” Moselle explained. “They were homeschooled and their only window to the world was movies. Everything was pretty much kept within the household. What’s so fascinating about them is that they really have created their own world through their interpretations of the films they have watched.”
Part of the documentary, aptly named The Wolfpack, shows how the brothers reenact a scene from Christopher Nolan’s film The Dark Knight.
As one of the brothers says to the camera, “This outfit is made from cereal boxes and yoga mats. After I saw The Dark Knight, that made me believe that something was possible to happen. Not because it was Batman, it’s because it felt like another world. I did everything I could to make that world come true. To escape my world.”
The brothers estimate that they watched over 5,000 movies as they grew up alone but together.
Moselle observed, “It’s fascinating what the human spirit does when it’s confined. The downside to all the movies is that there are certain formulas to them. Real life is different. In real life, the girl doesn’t always break your heart. The boys are struggling to understand that.”
Even more interestingly is the filmmaker’s observations about the brother’s characters, “The thing is, these brothers are some of the most gentle, insightful, curious people I’ve ever met. Something was clearly done right,” she said in an interview with The Times.
The Wolfpack brothers attended Sundance 2015 with their mother last month where they proudly took home the Grand Jury Prize for best U.S. documentary.