The seven siblings featured in the new documentary The Wolfpack grew up in New York’s Lower East Side, but they were raised almost completely shut off from the outside world. Despite and because of these strange circumstances, they became completely obsessed with pop culture – in particular, with movies.
Two of the Angulo brothers, Mukunda and Bhagavan, fell hard for The Dark Knight. And it was this film – about a man who dresses up as a giant bat – that made them want to discover the world outside their windows. “After I saw The Dark Knight, that made me believe that something was possible to happen,” says Mukunda. “Not because it was Batman, but because it felt like another world.”
WATCH MUKUNDA AND BHAGAVAN RECREATE A SCENE FROM THE DARK KNIGHT:
Oscar Angulo, the siblings’ father, was strict. For years, he didn’t let them leave their apartment on their own. On the rare occasion when they went out as a family, the kids were told not to speak to anyone. The internet was also off limits. But Oscar loved movies, so he recorded a massive library on VHS and DVD – about 5,000 films in total. The siblings would watch the same films over and over and, after fiercely debating their collective Top 40, they decided to start recreating some of them.
“We always say lines from our favorite films and we thought, why don’t we do those films, be the characters,” Mukunda says. Without a computer or even a typewriter, he had to handwrite all of the individual scripts. “It took me a week to write Goodfellas, a week to write The Dark Knight, about five to write The Dark Knight Rises, two to write Batman Begins. Writing that and hurting your hand, it’s torture, but seeing the result is everything.”
The siblings now star in their very own film – albeit a documentary. The Wolfpack, directed by Crystal Moselle, won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Moselle first encountered the kids on one of their very first unsupervised forays out of their apartment. She took them to an internet café where Mukunda used the internet for the first time. “I just googled The Dark Knight and found out stuff I had no idea existed,” he says. “That’s the first thing I googled. I’ll never forget it.”