The Territory

There are many examples across the globe of indigenous peoples having to fight to hold on to their land and their way of living. We destroy both in the name of advancement, but in actuality, it is about cruelty and greed. We cannot see the benefit of (and that it is just plain right) to respect how others live and aid them in continuing to do so. Here we get a beautifully shot film on that very subject. A product of National Geographic Documentary Films, The Territory plunges deep into the Brazilian Amazon rainforest to discover the Uru-eu-wau-wau people.

An unfortunately common story today is one of deforestation. This is due to industry, farming or just to have more space to build homes for our ever-growing population. The Uru-eu-wau-wau people of Brazil had lived in their remote part of the Brazilian Amazon for generations. A simple, quiet life removed from the rest of the world. Not harming anyone, their way of life is now being threatened by encroaching farmers and illegal settlers who are removing their part of the forest.

For the first time ever, we get a look at these people and the struggle they are facing. Filmed over the course of three years, we can be sure that their part is told from their perspective as it was partially shot by the Uru-eu-wau-wau people themselves. Not showing favouritism, we also hear from the farmers as well. As such a rounder picture of the truth emerges. Intimate and heartbreaking.

Director Alex Pritz (Parallel Lives) comes from a background in cinematography, so it is not surprising that visuals play a big part in the telling of the story. The film is spectacular to look at really showing off the landscapes and environment that the Uru-eu-wau-wau live in. Very much in the style of cinema verite, there is a raw realism not only in the visuals but also in the way the story is told. There is a real attempt to expose the truth of what is going on in this part of the world. Conversations are not edited; they just are allowed to breathe and flow.

Truly a David versus Goliath story with a tiny tribe trying to defend the land they have lived on forever from encroaching groups of large farmers and illegal settlers. We learn that even the Brazilian government is not on their side. So much so that the young leader of the indigenous people warns that any violence from them against the farmers/settlers will not lead to one death but the Uru-eu-wau-wau being wiped out.