The Territory

The Territory (Portuguese: O Território) is a 1981 Portuguese philosophical horror film directed by Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz about two American families who resort to cannibalism shortly after getting lost on a camping trip in the South of France. The film, about the animalistic nature of humans when they disregard their "civilized" instincts, obliquely addresses themes of "exile and crossing boundaries: of language, nation and morality".[1]

The Territory
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRaúl Ruiz
Produced byPaulo Branco
Roger Corman
Written byRaúl Ruiz
Gilbert Adair
StarringIsabelle Weingarten
Rebecca Pauly
Geoffrey Carey
Jeffrey Kime
Paul Getty Jr.
Music byJorge Arriagada
CinematographyHenri Alekan
Acácio de Almeida
Edited byClaudio Martinez
Valeria Sarmiento
Distributed byInternational Film Circuit (United States)
Release date
  • September 15, 1981 (1981-09-15) (Portugal)
Running time
100 minutes


  • Isabelle Weingarten as Françoise, Jim's partner
  • Rebecca Pauly as Barbara, Peter's partner
  • Geoffrey Carey as Peter, Barbara's partner
  • Jeffrey Kime as Jim, Françoise's partner
  • Paul Getty Jr. as Guide, uncle to Linda's daughter
  • Shila Turna as Linda
  • Artur Semedo as Indefinite man
  • Camila Mora as Young girl
  • Ethan Stone as Young boy, Françoise's son
  • José Nascimento as Prawler
  • Duarte de Almeida as Indefinite man's friend, found in the territory as a man lost for much longer than them
  • Rita Nascimento as Linda's daughter


The circumstances in which the film was produced, and the extent of Corman's involvement, are somewhat mysterious, co-writer Adair claiming that the film was made under “‘hair-rasing’ conditions" in Sintra. The production's budgetary difficulties inspired New German Cinema director Wim Wenders to make the Golden Lion-winning The State of Things (1982) with much of the same cast and crew.[2]


Stephen Holden from The New York Times called it "an odd little art film that has the feel of a European version of an episode of The Twilight Zone."[1] Dennis Schwartz of Ozus' World Movie Reviews awarded the film a grade B+, calling it "Deliciously subversive".[3]


  1. "Movie Review - - Review/Film; Having Mother For Dinner -". Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  2. Goddard, Michael (2013). The Cinema of Raúl Ruiz: Impossible Cartogrophies. Wallflower Press. p. 65.
  3. Schwartz, Dennis. "The Territory". Dennis Schwartz. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
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