The two develop an affection for each other, and the boy befriends the goatherd's animal companions: a ferret, a civet, and an owl. Unfortunately, the goatherd soon becomes ill and dies, leaving Marcos to fend for himself. For the next twelve years he has virtually no contact with human beings, but does make additional animal friends - the wolves of a nearby den.
This beautiful film is based on the incredible experiences of Marcos Rodríguez Pantoja, who lived alone in the Sierra Morena mountains from 1953 to 1965, when he was captured by members of Spain's Guardia Civil and returned to civilization at 19 years of age. But there's another intriguing narrative connected to all of this: the story of how the director found his hero.
According to a post on Olivares' blog, he came across the story in January 2007, after reading in a newspaper about a girl who spent twenty years lost in the Cambodian jungle. The article contained the web address www.feralchildren.com, a site with more accounts of children who grew up with animals. Being in the story telling business, Olivares clicked on the link thinking it might be a good place to find an interesting tale.
The phone rang several times before someone with a Galician accent answered on the other end. I introduced myself and asked if Marcos, the man who was isolated in the Sierra Morena for 12 years, lived there. The man was silent for a few seconds before answering.
"Yes, he lives here, but what do you want?
I explained in detail that after discovering his story I had spent almost a year looking for him, about Gabriel the anthropologist, about visiting his house in Añora, and that there were family members who wanted to know how he was
"I don't know if he will want to talk to you, but call back in ten minutes."
I didn't wait even three minutes before calling back, I was so anxious to talk to Marcos.
It was him, and on hearing his voice at last, I choked up. I felt a lump in my throat and could hardly speak.
"Hello paisano, I've spent nearly a year looking for you ... Finally I've found you."
Marcos let out a laugh.
"I've met some of your family who have also been trying to find you..."
He was silent and then replied:
"Well, my life has been hard..."
"I know. I'd like to meet you and talk at length."
"Then come around here, I live in... But how did you find me?"
"Tomorrow I can tell you the whole story in person, if it's not inconvenient"
"Tomorrow? Okay, no problem for me."
I hung up the phone and sat in silence, just smiling for a while. The next day, I was finally going to meet Marcos.
EntreLobos (AmongWolves), 2010, written and directed by Gerardo Olivares, starring Juan José Ballesta, Carlos Bardem, and Manuel Camacho.