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 Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05) 
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Post Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

Corrie Class Trip is a project where we rotate the selection of a title for group watches on an appointed day/date to then discuss [previous iterations linked below]. We welcome all to participate and share their thoughts and feelings! The second viewing for Round 4 is scheduled for Saturday January 5th. Please post about the film itself and your experience with it in this thread, and any off-topic posts about the series itself in the Class Trip Discussion Thread.

Thanks and enjoy!!!

xoxo,
your classmates

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Saturday, January 5th 2019


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The Territory (Raul Ruiz, 1981)


imdb wrote:
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.


Stephen Holden, New York Times wrote:
....an odd little art film that has the feel of a European version of an episode of ''The Twilight Zone.''


If you can't find this movie on your own, you can watch it on youtube:





Past Trips, Senior Year:

#1 - Ex Drummer (2007, Koen Mortier, Belgium) | Slentert

Past Trips, Junior Year:

#1 - La maternelle (1933, Jean Benoît-Lévy & Marie Epstein, France) | wigwam
#2 - Time and Winds (2006, Reha Erdem, Turkey) | Oxnard Montalvo
#3 - Clean, Shaven (1993, Lodge Kerrigan, USA) | Popcorn Reviews
#4 - Diabeł (1972, Andrzej Żuławski, Poland) | Oxnard Montalvo
#5 - Black Friday (2004, Anurag Kashyap, India) | Rock
#6 - Schizopolis (1996, Steven Soderbergh, USA) | Slentert
#7 - Hearts and Minds (1974, Peter Davis, USA) | Popcorn Reviews
#8 - Xtro (1982, Harry Bromley Davenport, UK) | crumbsroom
#9 - The House (1997, Šarūnas Bartas, France) | Oxnard Montalvo
#10 - Spider-Baby (1967, Jack Hill, USA) | Slentert
#11 - Oh Lucy! (2017, Atsuko Hirayanagi, Japan/USA) | Shieldmaiden
#12 - The Heartbreak Kid (1972, Elaine May, USA) | Jinnistan

Past Trips, Sophomore Year:

#1 - The Worthless (1982, Mika Kaurismäki, Finland) | snapper
#2 - Shopping for Fangs (1997, Quentin Lee and Justin Lin, USA) | takeshi
#3 - The Heart of the Wise Lives in the House of Sorrow (2009, Marin Malešević, Serbia) | Shieldmaiden
#4 - The Forbidden Quest (1993, Peter Delpeut, Netherlands) | kopello
#5 - São Bernardo (1972, Leon Hirszman, Brazil) | Bandy Greensacks
#6 - Evdokia (1971, Alexis Damianos, Greece) | Epistemophobia
#7 - The Ball at the Anjō House (1947, Kōzaburō Yoshimura, Japan) | snapper
#8 - Sérail (1976, Eduardo de Gregorio, France) | takeshi
#9 - Passport for a Corpse (1962, Mario Gariazzo, Italy) | JediMoonShyne
#10 - Aksuat (1997, Serik Aprimov, Kazakhstan) | Shieldmaiden
#11 - Dangerously Excited (2011, Koo, South Korea) | wigwam
#12 - Himala (1982, Ishmael Bernal, Philippines) | snapper

Past Trips, Freshman Year:

#1 - Distant Journey (1949, Alfréd Radok, Czechoslovakia) | snapper
#2 - Nanami: The Inferno of First Love (1968, Susumu Hani, Japan) | Das
#3 - The Policewoman (2003, Joaquim Sapinho, Portugal) | charulata
#4 - Freeze, Die, Come to Life! (1989, Vitali Kanevsky, USSR) | Bandy Greensacks
#5 - The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1974, Francesco Barilli, Italy) | Trip
#6 - Weddings and Babies (1958, Morris Engel, USA) | snapper
#7 - The Man with Three Coffins (1987, Lee Jang-ho, South Korea) | Notes from Underground
#8 - Malina (1991, Werner Schroeter, Germany) | Shieldmaiden
#9 - Bad Luck (1960, Andrzej Munk, Poland) | B-Side
#10 - The Girl with the Suitcase (1961, Valerio Zurlini, Italy) | JediMoonShyne
#11 - The Engagement of Anna (1972, Pantelis Voulgaris, Greece) | BandyGreensacks
#12 - Our Neighbor, Miss Yae (1934. Yasujirō Shimazu, Japan) | snapper[/quote][/quote]

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Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:58 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Ruiz, 1981)

I'll be there.

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Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:20 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Ruiz, 1981)

Whoops, edited out the Ex Drummer trailer from the OP.

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Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:27 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Ruiz, 1981)

I'll watch this, but I may be a day or so late.

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Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:34 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Ruiz, 1981)

I actually watched this a few weeks ago at a local screening. I've never really participated in the Class Trip much before, but I'll keep tabs on this one.

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Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:25 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

I appear to be first so I'll spoiler text this----

The only thing I knew about this was the short synopsis above.
*Having seen my share of lost-in-the-woods movies (and also we're-gonna-have-to-eat-that-guy movies, for that matter), I was expecting something more along the lines of a thriller or horror film. But the tone of this one is really odd. About an hour in, I was struck by how calmly everyone seemed to be handling the situation (both the characters and the filmmakers). There was no attempt to make the forest look "scary", but rather they were often bathed in sunlight. After a while there were a few moments that made me chuckle, but they were not overtly comic and in fact I'm not sure if I was supposed to find them funny. (Pretty sure I was, though) So I loved the weird tone of the thing.

*I'm gonna need someone to explain that bit at the end involving the guy that repeats everything.

*I went into this completely blind, so I know nothing about the director or where he's from. I get the sense that this was some sort of allegory to a political situation with which I'm not familiar. Might be way off there.


Short version: A very unusual approach to the subject makes this one oddly hypnotic, even if I felt like I was missing some important stuff. Feels like something that would benefit from multiple viewings.

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Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:46 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

This is my second Ruiz, after City of Pirates, and while I liked that one a lot more, I think this has a similar off-kilter, hypnotic tone and strange behaviour from children. I do like how this skirts comedy and horror in the kinds of things children do/say and their word games. I got some Blair Witch Project and Annihilation vibes from the sense of a hostile or at least sentient environment that doesn't obey our logic, and I like some of the flourishes Ruiz uses to depict the "offness" of the environment. I wish the characters had been better fleshed out, as their changing group dynamics and the effect their environment has on their behaviour didn't really resonate with me as much as I would have liked.
For example, I liked the hall of mirrors sequence that shows one character succumbing to cannibalism, but I didn't buy the extent to which that activity dominated their social dynamics immediately after, with the French woman being excommunicated for refusing to partake.

I also kept an eye out for John Paul Getty III's mangled ear after watching All the Money in the World, but his curls kept it hidden.
Anyone else expect him to play a bigger role in the movie? I was surprised that he got killed off so early, and I'm not sure how well the movie ties his odd behaviour and warnings about mistreating their environment to the events that follow.

Captain Terror wrote:
I appear to be first so I'll spoiler text this----

The only thing I knew about this was the short synopsis above.
*Having seen my share of lost-in-the-woods movies (and also we're-gonna-have-to-eat-that-guy movies, for that matter), I was expecting something more along the lines of a thriller or horror film. But the tone of this one is really odd. About an hour in, I was struck by how calmly everyone seemed to be handling the situation (both the characters and the filmmakers). There was no attempt to make the forest look "scary", but rather they were often bathed in sunlight. After a while there were a few moments that made me chuckle, but they were not overtly comic and in fact I'm not sure if I was supposed to find them funny. (Pretty sure I was, though) So I loved the weird tone of the thing.

*I'm gonna need someone to explain that bit at the end involving the guy that repeats everything.

*I went into this completely blind, so I know nothing about the director or where he's from. I get the sense that this was some sort of allegory to a political situation with which I'm not familiar. Might be way off there.


Short version: A very unusual approach to the subject makes this one oddly hypnotic, even if I felt like I was missing some important stuff. Feels like something that would benefit from multiple viewings.

Yeah, I'm not sure what the deal was with the repeating guy, but it added to the Annihilation vibes I was getting.

The only thing I know about the production history is that Roger Corman coughed up the dough and told them to make it disgusting, and Wim Wenders borrowed the cast and crew to make The Shape of Things at the same time. Not sure if there was a specific political situation being referred to, aside from the usual jabs at the upper class.

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Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:27 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

I've seen about 8 Ruiz films, and this one is relatively low on my list. I enjoyed it well enough, it just doesn't excel the way some of his other work does.

Broadly speaking, Ruiz has relatively little interest in character and almost no interest whatsoever in plot, so making a character-driven survivalist drama seems like an odd choice. It's also the only Ruiz film I've seen that's markedly campy. His films often have a wry sense of humor, but I've never seen one with such odd, clashing performances.

But the stuff he's known for does surface every now and then: recursive/cyclical occurrences, the overlapping of psychology/geography, a fascination with rituals and mysticism (as seen near the end). Some of his visual motifs are also on display: glaringly obvious filters, memento mori imagery, distorting lenses, the off the cuff shooting style typical of his earlier work.

This film seems caught between Ruiz's wilder impulses and a more conventional narrative and doesn't really satisfy either need fully, but it does create an ontological tension that's kinda interesting. I do think it's a good primer for Ruiz; the story and camp make it more accessible than his headier, more surreal work.

As a side note, Wim Wenders came to the rescue when Ruiz ran out of film stock making this, and Wenders proceeded to make The State of Things, which is loosely based on the production of The Territory and even used some of Ruiz's cast and crew. (I haven't seen it yet, but it might make an interesting supplement to this.)

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Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:21 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

What other films have you seen from him? I've been somewhat interested in getting into Ruiz for a while, but haven't been sure of a good place to start. The most easily available one I think is Mysteries of Lisbon, but the runtime has kept me away.

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Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:59 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

I've watched Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting, Three Crowns of a Sailor, The Suspended Vocation, That Day, The Lost Domain, City of Pirates, Dog's Dialogue, and this one. I have Mysteries of Lisbon on my computer but for the same reason as you haven't gotten around to it yet.

My favorites are probably Hypothesis, Three Crowns, Day, and Dialogue. All of these films are doing very different things, though. Hypothesis is totally sui generis, and one of his best. Three Crowns and Pirates have a lot in common, both are totally worthwhile, but I prefer Three Crowns. Day is a black comedy and a good place to start, since it has a relatively straightforward story. Dialogue is a short film, mostly made up of stills à la La Jetée, although the story and tone are radically different: a trashy melodrama so convoluted it verges on incoherence.

His films are preoccupied with the trappings of storytelling but generally eschew conventional arcs, psychological realism, etc. He is more concerned with the way stories are told, employing bizarre camera angles, vibrant details and visual flourishes, uncanny moods, and dream logic; the stories themselves often fall by the wayside. That's especially true of his 70s and 80s work, which is where most of the films I've seen fall. Later he worked with larger budgets and bigger actors (Mastroianni, Deneuve, Malkovich several times), on firmer narrative footing but retaining very distinctive obsessions. Even as his peculiarities acquired more subtlety, they remained pervasive.
These include Time Regained, Klimt, Three Lives and Only One Death, and Genealogies of a Crime. These could be another good starting place, since they're more readily available, but I haven't seen any of them (although I'd put That Day in this category).

He's also written a few books. I've read Poetics of Cinema which is possibly stranger than his films. There's a great quote from it that helps explain some of his anti-narrative tendencies. He's discussing the central conflict theory typical of mainstream American theater/films/literature and his opposition to it:

Raul Ruiz wrote:
I remember the first statement of the theory: "a story begins when someone wants something and someone else doesn't want them to have it. From that point on, through various digressions, all the elements of the story are arranged around this central conflict." What I immediately found unacceptable was this direct relation between will, which to me is something dark and oceanic, and the petty play of strategies and tactics around a goal which if not in itself banal, is certainly rendered so.

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Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:01 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

Like Rock, I've only seen City of Pirates, and this film is much more crude, both technically and allegorically. Still, despite the limitations of the available copy, it's evident that Ruiz has a remarkable command of color and composition, and the film is worth just staring at. I'd be lying to deny that I was rooting for
a gruesome Blair Witch beat down though.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:35 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

Rock wrote:
I wish the characters had been better fleshed out, as their changing group dynamics and the effect their environment has on their behaviour didn't really resonate with me as much as I would have liked.

I was getting multiple text messages throughout the film so I felt like I wasn't giving it my full attention, so I'm glad to hear you say this because I felt the same way. Again, I loved the weird tone of it but I didn't necessarily care about any character's fate.

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Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:57 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

This is my second time viewing this one, so I can say with confidence that it doesn’t get any less weird with a re-watch! E.g., "I wonder what he was doing with a foot," haha! It looks consistently amazing – with the filters, and fog, and reflections. But the performances are all so strange it’s hard to tell when they’re supposed to be odd (or ominous). It feels sort of like an experiment, to see what kind of movie he could make around such an acting-void. But, Rock, I don't think he ever fleshes out his characters!

I’ve watched 10 by Ruiz, and I have to admit I never fully understand what he’s going for. Genealogies is where his dark humor works the best for me, and it's dense with literary layers and allusions; so it’s my favorite. Here’s how I’d rank them:

Genealogies of a Crime
City of Pirates
Three Crowns of the Sailor
Mysteries of Lisbon
The Territory
Love Torn in a Day
The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting
Shattered Image
Klimt
That Day

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Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:25 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

I think I might take to the characters a bit more on a rewatch now that you guys are saying the performances are odder than usual. Certain jumps (or lack thereof) in behaviour did seem odd (i.e. curly haired dude gets way nervier at the end without any progression being sketched out while British dude who gets an actual transformative sequence barely changes in demeanour) and like Captain Terror, I was wondering if I'd missed something in their arcs.

I grabbed a copy of Three Crowns of the Sailor when I dropped by the video store today, so I should be getting to that soon. Looks like they have a few other movies from him as well.

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Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:48 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

Sorry for the delay. Overall, I'd say my thoughts pretty much reflect everyone else's. This is a fun film to watch for its visuals alone. The various camera filters, bizarre imagery, and distorting sequences all resonated with me quite a lot. The environment also resonated with me as it was filled with various off-kilter occurrences which, strangely, didn't feel neither harmless nor dangerous. The lack of depth does severely weaken this film though, because not only does this make for awkward changes to certain characters, but certain scenes which should've made an impact on me felt pretty forgettable due to the handling of the characters. Anyways, a couple cool ideas in here, but it ultimately left me underwhelmed.

5/10

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:02 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
...but certain scenes which should've made an impact on me felt pretty forgettable due to the handling of the characters.
I don't know that they should have had much impact. It's essentially a comedy, isn't it? A really goofy one!

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Bird Box ▪ Crazy Rich Asians ▪ Support the Girls ▪ Roma ▪ Boom for Real ▪ Nancy ▪ Hearts Beat Loud ▪ Summer 1993 ▪ Spotlight on a Murderer ▪ Leave No Trace ▪ Ismael's Ghosts ▪ Museo ▪ Unsane

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:29 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 4.0 #2: The Territory (Sat 01/05)

Shieldmaiden wrote:
I don't know that they should have had much impact. It's essentially a comedy, isn't it? A really goofy one!

I'll have to revisit it again, because other than
the prolonged stick beating and heart attack
scene near the end, I really didn't find the film to be grounded in comedy. I'd say it was grounded mainly in horror. Regardless, the scenes I was referring to -
death scenes
or changes in character's personalities - seemed to require the viewer to have a connection to those characters to get something out of them, connections I didn't have.

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:12 pm
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