A small group of well-to-do vacationers go on a hiking trip into the woods. Foolishly unprepared to deal with Mother Nature and their situation, they wander around lost for days and weeks, becoming more and more fatigued, hungry, and desperate. A brief encounter with a pair of epicureans on a bridge fails to garner them any of the gluttons’ feast due to a language barrier. Eventually their party begins to die, and the survivors ration their meat among them, attaching a religious-type ritual to its dispensation.
The Territory has a legendary – and somewhat mystified – production history. Based on a real-life case involving a group of bedevilled campers who lost their way, eventually resorting to cannibalism and religious ritual. It was shot in Portugal with a script by Ruiz’s collaborator and commentator Gilbert Adair. Famed exploitation producer Roger Corman was involved in the financing, but his only direct contribution was a telegram: ‘This movie must be very, very disgusting.’ Resources dried up, and completing the film became extremely difficult.
Meanwhile, Wim Wenders had visited the set, and quickly developed the idea of using members of Ruiz’s cast and crew for his largely improvised The State of Things (1982). As the local press filmed Wenders at work, the American independent Jon Jost made a documentary called In Corman’s Territory?, portraying Ruiz as an underground subversive and a victim of the ‘system’. Ruiz, however, denies the prevalent myth that Wenders ‘stole’ The Territory from him.
Finally released commercially in 1983, The Territory was acclaimed in some quarters as a philosophical horror film. Alain Masson in Positif described it as a ‘refined example of theological perversity in the manner of Pierre Klossowski’, and linked it to a history of philosophical speculation on cannibalism from Pascal and Calvin to Montaigne. The human body is the true territory of the film, its borders and functions ambiguously defined in relation to acts of eating, violence and sexuality. It ends in the type of sardonic twist we find frequently in Ruiz’s films: after the horror, one of the characters writes it all down and scores a best seller…
1.49GB | 1 h 46 min | 757×568 | mkv
Subtitles:English for French dialogue