"“The Territory,” a documentary about the Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people’s fight to protect their land, spotlights the unique natural music of the rainforest."
"Watching the first few minutes of “The Territory,” a new documentary set in the Amazon rainforest, is like listening to a symphony of deforestation. The film opens with the sound of an engine revving, the camera lingering on a boot pressed down on a dusty gas pedal. The clutch clicks and grinds, and then there’s the heavy crunch of footsteps in lush jungle, the buzz of chainsaws, a spray of sawdust, the scrape of sharpening blades, the slick gurgle of gasoline. A tree topples to the ground with a muffled thud.
This sequence is our introduction to a determined group of Brazilian settlers who want to tame this legally-protected area of the Amazon, stripping it for farmland. When we first meet the Indigenous caretakers of this landscape, the Uru-eu-wau-wau people, they are accompanied by noises of joy, life and nature: laughing children, rushing water, chirping birds. The Uru-eu-wau-wau were first contacted by the Brazilian government in the 1980s, and hundreds of them subsequently died of disease.
There are now fewer than 200 Uru-eu-wau-wau left in their 7,000 square miles of territory, “an island of rainforest surrounded by farms.” The stakes of the conflict could not be higher, because the fates of the Uru-eu-wau-wau and the ecosystem they belong to are a bellwether, and a determinant, of the fate of the planet. “I believe the Amazon is the heart not just of Brazil but of the whole world,” says Bitaté, one of the film’s Indigenous protagonists."
Kiley Bense reports for Inside Climate News January 28, 2023.