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Movie night Virtual Landscapes: The Wolfpack

Article by Josselin Snoek.

The power of imagination.

During this theme period ‘Virtual Landscapes’, the cooperation of BuitelHucht and TOPOS, there was also time for a movie night. After some pizza, we sat down to watch the documentary The Wolfpack (2015), by Chrystal Moselle. The movie focusses on the six boys of the family Angulo: Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Krsna, Mukunda and Narayana. Those boys, each with longer hair than many girls can dream of, were kept inside by their dad in a tiny apartment in the middle of New York City. They were home-schooled by their mom and if they were lucky, they would get out once a year. The director, Moselle, ran into ‘the Wolfpack’ (their nickname) in one of their first visits outside.

Dressed as The Grand Budapest Hotel (2015), New Zealand International Film Festival

During the documentary, mostly based inside the apartment, you form an idea of the life these boys must have been living. To describe their childhood, they use the metaphor that their dad was the landowner, and they are the people who work on the land. An interesting metaphor for boys whose world existed in one apartment for so long. The boys speak in understatements about their parents (mainly their father’s rules): “My parents didn’t encourage us to communicate with society.” “I think he overdid it.” I would like to encourage you to create your own opinion for that.

Mukunda Angulo in The Wolfpack (2015), Magnolia Pictures

However, their imagination couldn’t be controlled by their dad. They owned over 5000 movies, which opened another world for them. One of the boys tells us: “If I didn’t have movies, life would be pretty boring.” They remade whole scripts and crafted outfits, for example a Batman costume made of cereal boxes and yoga mats. Acting like in the movies is a great recourse for them; “it makes me feel like I’m living, because it’s sort of magical.” The virtual landscape in this story exists in that the apartment could, by the power of the boys their imagination and creativity, be all kinds of worlds and realities; like a 3D screen projected with their minds.

The boys copying a scene in their apartment (abcnews)

By the time they got out more often, they explored the city via movies. Mukunda explains in his TEDx that Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) brought them to Central Park and that they figured out uptown and downtown using the movie Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995). During the documentary, when we follow the boys outside, one boy calls out about the light: “Wow, that fucks with your eyes!” The trees make them think of The Lord of the Rings. “This is like 3D, man!” When they make a visit to Coney Island they quickly put on some sunscreen; they joke that they are vampires. Poignant is the music which is played. In heavy tones Peder and Signe Marie Schmidt-Jacobsen sing “you need some sunlight; you need some daylight”.

Mukunda Angulo, Jagadisa Angulo, and Krsna Angulo in The Wolfpack (2015), Magnolia Pictures“

It’s New York, anything can happen”, but they don’t say it with the tone of Alicia Keys or Frank Sinatra; more in distrust. The power of the imagination, their own virtual reality, made their apartment become a new world every day; it made them survive. Now they’re living their imagination, being embraced by the movie industry and acting in their own documentary.

Next up in this theme period will be an excursion to BügelHajema. Follow us on Facebook and keep a close look on the TOPOS website!

TEDx How my imagination set me free: Mukunda Angulo:; Peder: daylight (feat. Signe Marie Schmidt-Jacobsen):; The Wolfpack (2015): Official Trailer:

april 3, 2017

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