THE WOLFPACK – Review by Susan Granger

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Based on a true story and acclaimed at Sundance, Crystal Moselle’s poignant chronicle of children isolated from the outside world proves, once again, that fact can be stranger than fiction. Five years ago, aspiring filmmaker Ms. Moselle spotted the six Angulo brothers – then ages 11 to 18 – wandering in the streets of New York’s East Village. Befriending the boys over the next few months, she discovered their bizarre secret. Read on…

They spent most of their time indoors, confined in a four-bedroom, 16th floor apartment in a Lower East Side public housing project by their fearful father, Oscar, who forbade them to venture out.

As Oscar explains: “I didn’t want them to have the social pressure and be contaminated by drugs or religion or philosophy – but to learn who they are.”

Home-schooled by their mother, Susanne, they lived vicariously through a collection of 5,000 movies. “If I didn’t have movies, life would be pretty boring…,” one says. His brother adds, “It makes me feel like I’m living, sort of, because it’s kind of magical.”

Back in the late 1980s, Oscar Angulo, a Peruvian musician, met Midwestern Susanne Reisenbichler on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Soon after, they married and moved to West Virginia, then California, then New York City, where their developmentally disabled daughter and six sons were born.

They gave their sons Sanskrit names – Bhagavan, Govinda, Narayana, Makunda, Krsna and Jagadisa – and, as Hare Krishna followers, they focused on achieving an ultimate personal reality.

In 2010, adventurous 15 year-old Makunda was the first to escape, wearing a homemade “Halloween”-inspired Michael Myers mask. Alarmed, neighborhood shopkeepers summoned police who took him to Bellevue Hospital, thinking he was deranged.

While child welfare advocates deemed confinement “a bizarre parenting choice,” paranoid Oscar and Susanne broke no laws. Their children were obviously educated and healthy. During filming, the siblings and their mother became more self-aware and perceptive, learning how to interact with others.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Wolfpack” is a strange 7, a fascinating documentary.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.