The Brazilian rain forest is like the Wild West. That is, the indigenous peoples who have lived in the Amazon for time immemorial find themselves pushed out as farmers, entrepreneurs and the resource extraction industries encroach on the land in pursuit of “the Brazilian dream”, and with the tacit support of the Bolsonaro government. This resonates with the history of Canada. It is also of grave consequence to the future of our planet.
Alex Pritz’s vivid and immersive nonfiction film – which picked up two awards at Sundance – hones in on the fate of the Uru-eu-wau-wau tribe, whose territorial sovereignty is now on the front lines of the battle. Once several thousand strong, the Uru-eu-wau-wau now number just a couple of hundred, and rogue slash-and-burn land-grabbers are bringing deforestation to their doorstep. The tribe fights back via patrols (armed with bows and arrows and drones too), through the courts, and with the support of activists (the remarkable and tireless Neidinha Bandeira, whose own story figures prominently) and filmmakers, like Pritz, of course.
“Set at the explosive intersection of technology, politics, and indigenous persecution, the film is gorgeously and sometimes ingeniously conceived, painting an intimate first-hand portrait of joy, pain, and community, before bursting with rip-roaring intensity as it captures a high-stakes struggle for survival unfolding in the moment. More than just a chronicle of events, however, it’s also a bold statement about the lens through which indigenous peoples are often brought to the silver screen.” Siddhant Adlakha, Indiewire
It’s a beautiful film, and certainly an enraging one.
Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
The film’s sympathies are clear… But its strength lies in the way it offers intimate access to people on several clashing sides of the situation, making for a complex, layered and thoughtful examination.
Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
The Territory is fearless filmmaking. A runaway hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the film is a gripping environmental saga. It’s a thrilling feat that sees art and activism collide. Moreover, this film should be studied as an example of engaged collaborative filmmaking.
Pat Mullen, POV
In Brazilian Portuguese, and Tupi-Kawahiva with English subtitles
World Cinema Documentary Audience Award and Special Jury Award, Sundance 2022
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Darren Aronofsky, Sigrid Dyekjær, Will N. Miller, Gabriel Uchida, Lizzie Gillett, Alex Pritz
Alex Pritz, Tangãi Uru-eu-wau-wau
Carlos Rojas Felice
Hodja Diallo Berlev