The Wolfpack

Thanks to Sharon for bringing this unique documentary to my attention. Directed by Crystal Moselle, The Wolfpack (2015)shows a family consisting of six brothers, their parents and their sister who live in New York. The parents met when the mother went backpacking in South America. She shared his dislike for materialism and were married.

The sad and curious thing about this family is that the father became a control freak and would lock the wife and children in the apartment. He believed it was for security, but actually I saw it as a form of control. They could only go outside when the father permitted it and he apparently went with them so no one could escape. One year they were allowed out 9 years and another they weren’t taken outside at all.

The film focuses on the older brothers. The mother was certified by the state to homeschool the kids and they all spoke articulately and politely. The father had wanted 10 children as his dream of heading a tribe, but seven was the limit (biologically) for the mother. The father didn’t work; the father explained that he didn’t believe in work. I wondered what he did when he was out of the house for hours and hours. They family lived on welfare. The father dreamt of moving to Scandinavia, where the welfare was even better, but that never materialized.

The compelling thing about the documentary is how creative the boys were. To stave off boredom and keep sane, they watched the 5000+ DVDs that their dad had collected and then they’d copy the scripts and act out the films. They made clever props. It’s a good thing there were so many kids or they wouldn’t have enough actors.

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Small Change (1976)

François Truffaut’s Small Change (1976) was the first foreign language film I can recall seeing. I distinctly remember some neighbors raving about it and I was astonished by the idea of seeing a film in another language. A think our parents thought Small Change would be edifying so we were piled into a car and a group from the neighborhood all went. I remember being delighted by the scene when a toddler’s left alone and falls out of his apartment window, but remains unscathed. “Gregory go boom!” the boy exclaims to the petrified crowd.

The film still delighted though I did wish for more plot. Truffaut is wonderful with children and understands their lot better than most. The mischief of kids making a mess whenever the adults get caught up in their own lives, the innocence of looking for love, and the loneliness of hiding your family’s poverty or abuse are all present in this brightly colored panorama. Childhood’s changed in many ways with helicopter parents and high tech developments, but some of comedy and even the tragedies still remain.

The teacher’s monologue at the end struck me to the core in 1976 and again in 2018. I’ll share it below, but it’s a spoiler so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Persons of the Year

Bravo, Time!

Time magazine made a good choice, I think, in naming the Silence Breakers, i.e. the people who’ve come forward to expose sexual harassment. We certainly need to clean up our society. After reading about Harry Weinstein, Louie C.K., Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Al Franken and more it’s clear that the entertainment and government need to do a clean sweep. This is an issue that’s time has come. Before sexual harassment could just be stuck in a “He said/She said” cycle.

Now since anyone can have a recorder in their pocket and fools will send unseemly messages or have photos taken, getting evidence, hard cold evidence, is possible. And when it’s shared, justice occurs.

I’ve been shocked by the revelations and with each on hoped that it wasn’t true. (Well, not with Harvey Weinstein because he was nothing to me. I didn’t get the news from him or think of him at all.)

I would expect that this is an issue all sensible people can agree on. Yet, I was surprised when I read the Variety article on Matt Lauer, not just by his licentious actions, but by his fans who pledged their loyalty to Lauer and encouraged him to forget about his NBC dismissal and to start a podcast.

(Huh? No one makes $25 million a year on a podcast and Matt didn’t gain fame by his own ideas or stories. He interviewed others. Who’s now going to agree to be interviewed on Matt’s podcast? Other than Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein. Lauer is toxic by his own actions.)

Yesterday, I heeded a recommendation to read the New York Times article on the Weinstein Complicity Machine. Wow! This fiend convinced people to cover for him by paying a gossip columnist to find dirt on people and then blackmailing them should they think of revealing Weinstein’s deeds, by threatening to boycott talent agencies if they supported the actresses that he’d attacked or harassed. It’s sickening, but it’s something that needs to be read. I do think Harvey Weinstein belongs behind bars.

I think we really are united to clean up society and show these powerful people that they can’t harass, intimidate and hurt other people. I feel sorry for the spouses and children of these men now that the whole world knows about this heinous, habitual actions. My hope is that all these revelations and the attention they’re getting